Coca-Cola’s first reverse vending machines enter theme parks

Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners have partnered with Merlin Entertainments to offer discounts at UK’s best-known attractions in exchange for empty plastic bottles

Partnership designed to incentivise and encourage recycling on-the-go with specially created reverse vending machines 

Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners have today announced a partnership with Merlin Entertainments, to offer people 50 per cent off entry to some of the UK’s most popular family attractions, in exchange for used plastic drink bottles. This comes following research by Coca-Cola Great Britain, revealing 64[1] per cent of Brits would recycle more on-the-go if they were rewarded instantly for their actions.

The summer trial will run between 25th July and 19 October 2018 and invites people to bring and recycle any 500ml plastic bottle via an on-site reverse vending machine. The innovative machines will be installed at four of Merlin’s leading attractions and will instantly reward those who deposit their empty bottles with a voucher to receive 50 per cent off entry at 30 participating Merlin attractions[2] including Alton Towers Resort, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and LEGOLAND Windsor.

The trial is the first in the country to offer people a more valuable reward than the original purchasing price of the plastic drinks bottle they recycle, as the 50 per cent off voucher equates to a saving of around £27 when buying a Merlin attraction day pass.

The partnership comes a year since Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners launched their sustainable packaging strategy in GB alongside a global goal to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one it sells, by 2030, to help ensure a world without waste. 

Leendert den Hollander, Vice President and General Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “We want to reward people for doing the right thing by recycling their bottles and hope to encourage some people who wouldn’t otherwise have done so. Through this exciting new trial with Merlin Entertainments we hope to remind people how valuable their empty plastic bottle is. All of our bottles can be recycled and we want to get as many of them back as possible so they can be turned into new bottles and not end up as litter.

“This is just one of the actions that we’re taking. We buy more recycled plastic in the UK than any other company and we are in the process of doubling the recycled plastic in all our bottles from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020. We’re also running television campaigns encouraging people to recycle, putting clear recycling messages across all of our packs and we’re supportive of new interventions, such as deposit return schemes, to see if they improve recycling rates.”

Sandra Hazel, Head of Force for Good at Merlin Entertainments, said: “This partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners demonstrates our shared ambition to use our brands for good. We’re constantly looking for ways to raise awareness and help contribute to a better environment. As a responsible business and an advocate for marine conservation, we’re pleased to be joining forces with Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners to encourage people to recycle more this summer, by rewarding them with family fun.”

Jon Dormer, Managing Director at Unisan UK, supplier of CafeCrush™ reverse vending machines, said: “Our CafeCrush™ reverse vending machines reward people for recycling. Users simply insert an empty plastic bottle, it’s crushed and then they receive an incentive. The way the machine works means the bottles are not contaminated by other waste and so, are perfect for recycling. Also, because they are crushed, reducing waste volume by up to 90 per cent, more bottles can be stored and therefore less transportation is needed to get them to recycling facilities – a win for consumers and the environment.”

The announcement is the latest in a series of actions from Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners to ensure their packaging is as sustainable as possible and to encourage more people to recycle. Since the launch of its sustainable packaging strategy last year, Coca-Cola has introduced clearer on-pack recycling messaging on its bottles, and aired a dedicated recycling TVC called ‘Love Story’ which has reached over 30m people. Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners also continue to be the largest users of recycled food grade plastic in the UK with a commitment to increase the recycled PET in their packs from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020. They continue to work closely with UK and Scottish governments looking at the introduction of a well-designed deposit return scheme and other ways to increase recovery and recycling rates.

Terms & Conditions

The Coca-Cola Reverse Vending Machine voucher gives 50 per cent off an individual walk-up rate entry ticket to select Merlin Entertainments attractions. Ticket holders must present their voucher at the attraction ticket office to redeem 50 per cent off an entry ticket to their chosen attraction. Voucher valid for one person, at one attraction only. Valid until 19.10.18 at Alton Towers Resort and Thorpe Park Resort, 31.10.18 at Chessington World of Adventures, 01.11.18 at The LEGOLAND Windsor Resort and 31.03.19 at all other included attractions.

Restrictions and exclusions apply, for full T&C’s visit www.coca-cola.co.uk/RecycleRewards

About Coca-Cola European Partners:

Coca-Cola European Partners is the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler. CCEP is the sole licensed bottler for products of The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) in Andorra, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Luxemburg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

In Great Britain (GB) they employ some 3,800 people across England, Scotland and Wales at manufacturing sites, offices and depots. They are committed to minimising the environmental impact of its products and operations, with a particular focus on sustainable packaging, water stewardship, and energy and climate protection.

CCEP make, sell and deliver the following products in GB for TCCC: Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Fanta, Dr Pepper, Sprite, Schweppes, Fuze Tea, HONEST, AdeZ, Abbey Well, glacéau smartwater, Powerade, Oasis and Appletiser. In GB they also make, sell or deliver Monster, Relentless and Capri-Sun. 

About Merlin Entertainments plc:

Merlin Entertainments plc is a global leader in location based, family entertainment. As Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates over 120 attractions, 18 hotels and 6 holiday villages in 25 countries and across 4 continents. The company aims to deliver memorable experiences to its more than 65 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its c.29,000 employees (peak season).

Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information or see www.merlinbackstage.com for an insight into Merlin and its attractions.

About Unisan UK:

Unisan UK provide game-changing solutions that enable businesses to rethink their traditional approaches and demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability, whilst making recycling easier and more efficient.  Proud recycling solutions supplier to over 1,000 major UK brands, serving Food & Drink Manufacturing, Car Manufacturing, Hospitals & Care Homes, Distribution Centres through to the Corporate Facilities Industry, since 1989.

For more information, visit Unisan UK at https://www.unisanuk.com/