UK’s biggest sports drink brand[i] to save 3,500 tonnes of new plastic from being made with major sustainability changes

Suntory Beverage and Food Great Britain & Ireland (SBF GB&I) is investing £6M to support the recycling of its bottles by renovating the packaging of its Lucozade brand.

Millions are being invested to ensure that the Lucozade Sport bottle is only made from recycled plastic. This alone will save 3,400 tonnes of virgin plastic being produced annually. Alongside this the bottle will be redesigned with a smaller label – reducing the volume of plastic used previously and ensuring that every bottle can be recycled back into another bottle.

Although they’ve always been recyclable, the new labels which feature on-pack recycling prompts, ensure that the bottles can be sorted into the clear waste stream to be recycled back into bottles at UK recycling centres.

In total the changes represent a saving of 3,500 tonnes of virgin plastic and 9,000 tonnes of CO2, contributing towards the company’s net zero ambition.

This is because the shift from using virgin plastic made from fossil fuels to recycled plastic (rPET) reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 79%[i]. New targets announced by SBF GB&I recently set its ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 on the way to net zero by 2050.

These sustainability investments form part of the companies £7.8M investment spent to date to make its packaging more sustainable.  Other recently launched initiatives include a newly designed Ribena bottle and the replacement of plastic straws with paper alternatives on all Ribena cartons.  Further changes will come next year as the business works towards its commitment to make plastic packaging completely sustainable by 2030.

Alpesh Mistry, sales director at SBF GB&I, said:These bottles not only look great but mark a hugely exciting step in our sustainable plastic packaging journey. We know our shoppers want to do their bit for the environment and from the end of this year they will be able to buy a bottle of Lucozade Sport knowing that if recycled, it can be turned back into another bottle. This is the kind of circularity we’re striving for as we Grow for Good and I hope retailers get behind us in our mission to recycle.”

Lucozade Sport’s new rPET bottles and reduced sleeve design have been endorsed by a raft of recycling organisations, including RECOUP and the Recycling Association, who praised the investment from SBF GB&I.

The Recycling Association CEO Simon Ellin said: “We have been critical in the past of brands using a full plastic sleeve around their bottles. Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I have gone above and beyond remedying this in their re-design, by not only minimising the plastic sleeve, and ensuring the whole bottle is recyclable, but they’ve moved to using 100% recycled material in its manufacture too. This is market leading and we fully applaud them for their efforts.”

Paul East, RECOUP Packaging Sustainability Manager. “RECOUP endorse the label changes made by Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I on their Lucozade Sports bottle. The reduction of the label will allow 50% of the bottle to be seen meaning that they can be more easily identified in sorting centres for recycling. Taking these steps to ensure more material is captured for recycling not only leads the way for others to follow but also highlights how small changes can make a big difference.”

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs also commented on these packaging updates. Rebecca Pow, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State said: “I am pleased to see Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I make this investment into their Lucozade brand – this is exactly the sort of ambitious leadership we need from industry to ensure more materials are recycled and reused. Through our landmark Environment Bill, we will create deposit return schemes for drinks containers, encourage more recyclable packaging through extended producer responsibility, and put in place consistent recycling collections which will transform the way we deal with plastic waste.”

[i] EXT IRI, MarketPlace GB, latest 52 week data ending 25.04.21

[ii] https://blog.alpla.com/en/press-release/newsroom/study-confirms-excellent-carbon-footprint-recycled-pet/08-17

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