Ribena produces recycling breakthrough from up its sleeve
By Rob Freeman | 11th November 2020
Ribena has unveiled a major redesign of its packaging as it looks to make itself more sustainable.
The £1.6million redesign, which has taken two years to complete, features a reduced sleeve which ensures bottles can be turned back into bottles in the existing UK recycling infrastructure.
And the new design reduces the amount of plastic for each bottle sleeve - saving 202 tonnes annually.
All 500ml bottles manufactured in the UK and passing through the Suntory Beverage and Food GB and Ireland plant at Coleford will feature the new design.
The move means Ribena becomes the UK's largest soft drinks brand to use bottles made from 100 per cent recycled plastic and 100 per cent bottle-to-bottle recyclable.
Suntory aims to make plastic packaging completely sustainable by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Chief operating officer Carol Robert said: "Making sure our bottles can be easily recycled and turned back into bottles is an important part of our journey towards full circularity and net zero emissions.
"Simplifying the packaging of our drinks to help consumers to recycle is just one of our many investments in making our soft drinks more sustainable.
"From climate-change resilient blackcurrants to promoting biodiversity on our farms, we're working to make Ribena more sustainable from bush to bottle."
Although Ribena's bottles have always been recyclable, the sleeve's dark colour and length could stop sensors at some plants from identifying the bottle underneath.
Switching the design of the label involved extensive product testing and investment to ensure the drink would not be affected by the extra exposure to light while on the shelf.
The redesign has been backed by the Recycling Association, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and waste charity WRAP.
Recycling Association chief executive Dr Simon Ellin said: "We have been highly critical of manufacturers who have not taken responsibility for the full life cycle and recyclability of their products.
"Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I have been proactive in this space and have developed a fantastic new bottle for their Ribena brand.
"Not only is the bottle made from 100 per cent recycled plastic but the label has been minimised to ensure the bottle can be easily identified, sorted and recycled using standard industry technology."
The work, which required investment in the Coleford factory, will also be applied across Lucozade Sport and Lucozade Energy in the next 18 months, saving 1,100 tonnes of plastic each year.
The redesign follows a paper straw trial for Ribena cartons, the first crop of climate-change resistant blackcurrants following a £10m research project and a major breakthrough in enzymatic plastic recycling.
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