The global drinks brand and owner of Forest of Dean-based Lucozade, is to invest £6 million in the recycling of its bottles by renovating the drink’s packaging.
Suntory Beverage and Food Great Britain & Ireland (SBF GB&I), which also makes Ribena at its Forest of Dean factory, wants to make its Lucozade Sport bottle only from recycled plastic.
It says this alone will save 3,400 tonnes of virgin plastic being produced annually. Alongside this the bottle will be redesigned with a smaller label – reducing the volume of plastic used previously and ensuring that every bottle can be recycled back into another bottle.
In February last year, Suntory invested £13 million in a new Ribena bottling line at its Forest of Dean Factory.
Although they’ve always been recyclable, the new labels which feature on-pack recycling prompts, ensure that the bottles can be sorted into the clear waste stream to be recycled back into bottles at UK recycling centres.
In total the changes represent a saving of 3,500 tonnes of virgin plastic and 9,000 tonnes of CO2, contributing towards the company’s net zero ambition.
This is because the shift from using virgin plastic made from fossil fuels to recycled plastic (rPET) reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 79%. New targets announced by SBF GB&I recently set its ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 on the way to net zero by 2050.
These sustainability commitments form part of the company’s £7.8M investment to make its packaging more sustainable. Other recently launched initiatives include a newly designed Ribena bottle and the replacement of plastic straws with paper alternatives on all Ribena cartons. Further changes will come next year as the business works towards its commitment to make plastic packaging completely sustainable by 2030.
Toby McKeever, Chief Operating Officer at SBF GB&I: “This investment into our iconic Lucozade brand marks a huge step towards our 2030 sustainable plastic packaging goals and makes the UK’s biggest sports drink brand also one of the most sustainable.
“From professionals to grassroots players, Lucozade Sport is a staple for athletes across the country and I urge these sports drink fans to go the extra mile and recycle their bottle. Part of our Growing for Good vision is to minimise our environmental impact and keeping our bottles in circulation is a crucial part of this.”
Lucozade Sport’s new rPET bottles and reduced sleeve design have been endorsed by a raft of recycling organisations, including the Recycling Association, who praised the investment from SBF GB&I.
The Recycling Association CEO Simon Ellin said: “We have been critical in the past of brands using a full plastic sleeve around their bottles. Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I have gone above and beyond remedying this in their re-design, by not only minimising the plastic sleeve, and ensuring the whole bottle is recyclable, but they’ve moved to using 100% recycled material in its manufacture too. This is market leading and we fully applaud them for their efforts.”
Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister added: “I am pleased to see Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I make this investment into their Lucozade brand – this is exactly the sort of ambitious leadership we need from industry to ensure more materials are recycled and reused.
“Through our landmark Environment Bill, we will create deposit return schemes for drinks containers, encourage more recyclable packaging through extended producer responsibility, and put in place consistent recycling collections which will transform the way we deal with plastic waste.”