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​Coca-Cola Bottler Demands Action on Recycling Before Election

​Coca-Cola Bottler Demands Action on Recycling Before Election

Posted by Emily on 18th Mar 2024

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, the sole licensed bottler for Coca-Cola in Europe, is pressing the UK government to enact a deposit return scheme (DRS) law for single-use drink containers before the upcoming general election. Julian Hunt, Vice-President of the company, highlighted the urgency of this move to prevent the UK from being labelled as "the dirty man of Europe" regarding recycling. During a conference last week, Hunt emphasised the importance of collaborative action among the UK's four governments to introduce a cash-incentive recycling scheme, fulfilling a longstanding commitment.

Coca Cola Enterprises Ltd - - 4482978Coca Cola Enterprises Ltd by Des Blenkinsopp, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The implementation of the DRS, which incentivises consumers to recycle through a refundable deposit on bottles and cans, is facing delays, with a potential launch not expected until at least 2028. This setback is attributed to administrative and infrastructural challenges. The initiative has seen multiple postponements, notably affected by the pandemic and subsequent disagreements over its structure.


Contrasting the UK's hesitation, other European nations, including Germany and recently the Republic of Ireland, have successfully launched their DRS, witnessing significant positive impacts on recycling rates and environmental health. The delay and lack of clarity in the UK and the possibility of diverging schemes across its nations pose risks not only to environmental sustainability but also to the economy and consumer interests.

Environmental and industry groups echo the call for immediate legislative action, emphasising the UK's need to align with global progress on recycling initiatives. However, retailers advocate for a considered approach to avoid rushed legislation that could burden consumers financially without delivering the expected recycling benefits.

Coca-Cola bij Albert HeijnAlf van Beem, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

With the upcoming extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation, which mandates producers cover the costs of recycling packaging waste, there's a concern among manufacturers about potential overlapping costs if a DRS is not implemented timely.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reaffirms its commitment to waste reduction and resource efficiency, stressing the importance of industry collaboration in achieving these goals.

Your thoughts and opinions are invaluable as we navigate these critical discussions on recycling and environmental stewardship. Please share your views in the comments below.