Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) is partnering with VicReturn, the coordinator for the new Victorian Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). Victoria is the last state on the Australian mainland to establish a CDS and this marks a major e milestone in driving a circular economy for beverage packaging in Australia.
VicReturn is a not-for-profit entity with members comprising Lion, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners and Asahi Beverages, with each having significant experience in managing container deposit schemes (CDS) across Australia.
CCEP says it is determined to be a catalyst in Australia’s circular economy by acting as a scheme operator and / or coordinator in every state and territory where a CDS is operational.
Orlando Rodriguez, managing director, CCEP Australia, said, “We have directly invested in establishing and operating these schemes with state governments and our beverage partners around the country. We recognise the impact of plastic on our environment and the need for the beverage industry to take responsibility for the life of its products.”
“We know container deposit schemes offer a highly effective solution to plastic recycling, compared to kerbside recycling, and we are excited to now have national mainland coverage of schemes with the introduction of the Victorian scheme.”
Recycling rates through CDS collection networks are upwards of 50 per cent for every scheme, compared to less than 15 per cent through kerbside bins. The overall combined collection rate nationally sits at about 65 per cent, with South Australia being the leading state for collection. Although there is room to improve this collection rate, CDS represent an example of success in the otherwise sombre national conversation about plastic recycling rates.
While 1 November marks a significant milestone in gaining mainland coverage for CDS, it is also when Queensland’s scheme will expand to encompass wine and spirit bottles.
“At CCEP, we support the expansion of the Queensland container deposit scheme to include the collection of wine and spirit bottles. This will reinforce and motivate recycling behaviour by Australian households. The broader the range of containers redeemable for a cash incentive, the more likely businesses and households will be to accumulate these items and claim a deposit,” added Rodriguez.
CCEP says it has a series of commitments and initiatives to drive a more sustainable future. The bottles are designed to maximise recycled content and for recyclability, with 7 out of 10 of its bottles now made from 100 per cent recycled plastic (excluding caps and labels), the company claims.
As CCEP is directly involved in establishing and operating container deposit schemes, it says this means it can collect its packaging once it has been used. Finally, the company invests in recycling infrastructure to convert used bottles into materials that can be re-used.
CCEP is part of a joint venture, Circular Plastics Australia (PET) in collaboration with Pact Group, Cleanaway Waste Management and Asahi Beverages. Through the joint venture, an investment into two state-of-the-art recycling plants in Australia has been made – one now operational in Albury-Wodonga and the second in Melbourne’s West due for completion by the end of the year.
The company says these plants have the capacity to recycle around one billion post-consumer recycled plastic bottles a year once fully operational, with the potential to be recycled into a new bottle as many as seven or eight times.
CCEP says the introduction of the Victorian CDS, the expansion of the Queensland scheme and the soon-to-operational second local PET recycling plant represent a significant step-change for the recycling of beverage packaging in Australia and a milestone in creating a closed loop.