Ribena maker warns over over shortage of recycled plastic for industry

The levels of recycled plastic in Europe need to more than treble for all soft drinks companies to switch to 100% recycled bottles, the parent company of Ribena has said.

This follows Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I, which also makes Lucozade, confirming all of its on-the-go 500ml bottles, excluding the cap and label, will be made from 100% rPET by the end of the year.

The move will help save around 36,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

However, the company, warned that the amount of food-grade recycled plastic will need to increase significantly for other firms to move to 100% recycled plastic.

READ MORE: Suntory appoints Nicola Pegg as R&D director

As a result, as Europe produces around 1.3 million tonnes of rPET of the quality needed for packaging food and drinks, this would need to increase by 3.56 million tonnes for all soft drinks companies to switch to 100% recycled plastic bottles in Europe.

The demand for the food-grade material is also increasing costs, being 39% more expensive than virgin plastic of the same type.

“It’s the result of years of hard work and whilst reaching this milestone is a cause for celebration, much still needs to be done in terms of recycling infrastructure,” Suntory head of sustainability Liz Nieboer said.

“There has been a historic under-investment in the UK’s recycling and collection infrastructures, meaning less than a third of bottles are turned back into bottles.”

The company added Lucozade Sport, Orangina and Ribena bottles are already 100% rPET, but further supply is needed for Lucozade Energy.

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