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Coca-Cola HBC is to drive the amount of recycled PET in its carbonated brands beyond the 50% mark next year, its CEO has told just-drinks.

Bottles for three of CCHBCs water brands are to be made out of 100% recycled plastic

Bottles for three of CCHBC's water brands are to be made out of 100% recycled plastic

The company was one of the first bottlers in the Coca-Cola network to release a 100% recycled PET bottle for bottled water and is now targeting single-serve sparkling brands. Earlier this year, it began using bottles made from 50% recycled PET in Austria, Switzerland and Ireland. Plans are to increase the ratio next year.

"We started with water brands so can have a full 100%-recycled PET bottle," CEO Zoran Bogdanovic said this morning. "We already have 50% recycled PET in carbonated brands in several countries and we will be moving on this in single-serve next year."

Consumer concern over plastic waste is high on the agendas of global soft drinks firms, and a number have pledged to use more recycled PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, the most common resin used to produce plastic bottles. The Coca-Cola Co has said its packaging material will be 50% recycled by 2030.

CCHBC appears to be ahead of the curve on the sustainability promise, and this year revealed that three of its brands, Ireland's Deep RiverRock, Austria's Römerquelle and Switzerland's Valser are now packaged in 100% recycled plastic. Romerquelle is now bottled in 100% rPET in Croatia as well as Austria.

Speaking after the release of third-quarter results today, Bogdanovic admitted that recycled PET is currently more expensive than virgin PET because of high demand from within the industry. However, he said there are no concerns over using recycled PET with carbonated brands, which require stronger packaging compared to still bottled water.

"As long as it's a quality feedstock then it can be used for the production of either water or sparkling PET bottles," Bogdanovic said.

Meanwhile, the CEO praised growth for full-sugar Coke, which continues to add volumes in CCHBC markets despite legislative moves in Europe for sugar tax laws and consumer trends for health and wellness. Bogdanovic said regular Coke was in volumes growth in at least half of the group's markets, including double-digit increases in Russia and single-digit rises in Poland and Austria.

The CEO also said Coke extensions such as Coke Energy and Coke Plus Coffee are "re-energising" the brand, and making trademark Coke - which includes the fast-growing zero-sugar portfolio - the best-performing part of CCHBC.

"It is super encouraging," Bogdanovic said.

In Q3 results today, CCCHBC delivered a solid performance with nine-month sales up 3% on an organic basis.

Are full-sugar soft drinks the new niche? - Click here for a just-drinks comment


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