Recycle for the Future
Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has begun a study with 20 households in Great Britain and France to observe at-home recycling behaviors. The study seeks to understand why recycling rates are so low, despite people expressing strong beliefs towards environmental behaviors.
Improving recycling rates will enable CCE and other manufacturers to boost sources of locally-available high-quality recycled PET and reduce their resource footprint.
CCE has identified that packaging accounts for almost half (47%) of its carbon footprint. As part of its commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of its products by a third by 2020, the company has committed to recycle more packaging than it uses.
The 'value/action' gap
Across Western Europe, over 80% of CCE's packaging that is not recycled is in two countries, Great Britain and France, also CCE’s two largest markets.
75% of French and 76% of British consumers claim to “always” recycle plastic bottles at home, and over 63% across both countries view recycling as “a moral and environmental duty.”
However, actual at-home recycling rates do not reflect these intentions as only half of all plastic bottles are currently collected for recycling, revealing a significant ‘value/action gap,’ where a stated intention to recycle is not translated into action.
A Ground-breaking study
Researchers from the University of Exeter will observe 10 households in Great Britain and 10 households in France during a six-month period, to explore the dynamics that drive waste disposal and recycling in the home.
Together with the participants, they will also explore solutions that could influence behaviors and eventually improve at-home recycling rates.
The study will explore questions such as:
- Who are the environmental champions in the home? 54% of 18-24 year olds across both countries say they always recycle plastic bottles, compared to almost 90% of over-55s.
- What is the impact of on-pack information? 37% of people say they would like to see more information on packaging about recycling.
- Is a lack of understanding in the infrastructure partly responsible for low recycling rates? Over 30% of people believe collected materials are not recycled.
Results will be shared with local authorities, NGOs and other businesses who are trying to influence environmental behaviors.
CCE will collaboratively develop solutions with the wider industry and sustainability community to help improve recycling rates.
We welcome your thoughts on this important topic.
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