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Coca-Cola Enterprises to Build $24M Plastic Recycling Plant in UK

<p>Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd., the world's third-largest independent Coke bottler, and the largest plastics recycler in Europe are teaming up to build a U.K. facility that's expected to more than double the country's production of high-grade recycled plastic, material suitable for beverage and food packaging.</p>

Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd. and recycling firm ECO Plastics Ltd. plan to build a £15 million plant plant in Britain, a move that will more than double the amount of food-grade recycled PET in the United Kingdom.

In plans announced yesterday, CCE, the world's third-largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, and ECO Plastics are to build the new facility at the site of ECO Plastics' plant in Lincolnshire. Capable of processing 2 billion bottles a year, about 100,000 metric tons of waste plastic, the £17 million plant is the currently the largest of its kind in Europe.

In the U.K., some 35,000 metric tons of polyethylene terephthalate bottles are reprocessed each year into high-grade recycled plastic that's suitable for beverage and food packaging. With the construction of the plant planned by CCE and ECO Plastics, the output is expected to more than double, rising to 75,000 metric tons.

To fund the project, equivalent to about $24.24 million, CCE is making a £5 million (more than $8 million) equity investment and ECO Plastics is raising £10 million (close to $16.2 million). Under the arrangement, a 10-year joint venture, CCE will be guaranteed an annual supply of recycled PET. The company has a goal of using 25 percent recycled PET in all its packaging by 2012.

The recycling plant deal, a first for the British beverage industry, closes a loop for he U.K. as well as for CCE. The bottling company now sources its food-grade recycled PET from Europe, and two-thirds of the U.K.'s waste plastic from packaging is shipped out of the country for reprocessing. The new plant will enable used British packaging to be recycled into new packaging that will sold in Britain.

Lord Henley, waste minister for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the U.K., praised the two firms for embarking on their partnership. "Coca‑Cola and ECO Plastics' efforts are an innovative blueprint for the future, and show how producers can take responsibility to step up to this challenge," he said in a statement.

Photo credits: Top image from Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd. Inset image of Lincolnshire plant from ECO Plastics.

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