CCEP partners with university to reduce soft drinks packaging

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is continuing its commitment to reduce the amount of packaging used for its products with a new initiative, launched in partnership with the University of Reading, UK.

Coinciding with the start of the next academic year, the programme combines a new generation of smart Coca-Cola fountain dispensers – known as Coca-Cola Freestyle machines – with refillable containers that are microchipped to interact with the dispenser technology, allowing students and staff to buy all their soft drinks in reusable bottles. This refill system will help people to reduce their own packaging footprint.

The bottles, manufactured by Whirley-Drinks Works, can be purchased at the university, giving users access to refills throughout the 10-week term. Students will have access to over 100 drinks from a range of brands such as Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke and Fanta, including low and zero calorie variants, caffeine free and still drinks. Students will also be able to try drinks and flavour variants within the business’ global portfolio that are not available in GB stores. Options for single pour and limited refills are also available.

The bottles contain RFID (radio frequency identification) to directly interact with Validfill dispensing technology. As well as ensuring that payment has been made, this technology will also allow CCEP to track how many times the refillable bottle is used and which drinks are most popular.

Nick Brown, head of sustainability at CCEP, says, “We’re hugely excited to have joined forces with the University of Reading on this project. As well as supporting a more sustainable packaging system on campus, the trial will allow us to explore consumer behaviours and attitudes towards refillable bottles, with the goal to help students and staff across the university to reduce their personal packaging footprint.

Matt Tebbit, catering and bars manager at the University of Reading, adds, “Around 650,000 plastic bottled drinks are used on our campuses each year, so this partnership will help the university to reduce this considerably.”

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