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Coke bottler invests in French recycling venture

October 4, 2012

ATLANTA (Oct. 4, 1:45 p.m. ET) — Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (CCE) has unveiled two initiatives aimed at improving recycling behavior and infrastructure in Europe.

Atlanta-based CCE, a bottler that serves Coca-Cola Co. customers in Europe, is establishing a joint venture in France that will boost capacity at an existing recycling plant by 20,000 metric tons annually.

The venture is APPE, the packaging division of La Seda de Barcelona, which has a recycling plant in Beaune, France.

The deal will Coke will expand the plant’s plastics reprocessing facility by 70 percent.

The company is also funding a research partnership to explore how strategies to change consumer behavior can improve at-home recycling rates in Great Britain and France.

Recycling rates in these two countries remain below most of the wrest of Europe despite growing awareness of environmental concerns among consumers. Just half of plastic bottles are collected for recycling in these countries; as a result, manufacturers face restrictions in the supply of locally available recycled PET.

“Our goal to lead our industry in sustainable packaging and recycling means we must support and promote improvements throughout our value chain,” said John Brock, chairman and CEO of CCE.

“These initiatives aim to address two of our biggest challenges in this area – improving recycling rates by influencing consumer behavior at home and meeting the increasing demand for recycled PET through investments in strategic infrastructure projects.”

While consumers express strong support for recycling, at-home rates do not reflect this. Seventy-nine percent of consumers polled at the 2012 Olympics Games claimed to always recycle plastic bottles at home, yet national data shows that recycling rates are much lower.

The research program will seek to define interventions that can overcome the gap between belief and behavior. It will be delivered in partnership with the University of Exeter and will be based upon in-depth research with households in Great Britain and France over a 10-month period.