20 February 2007

Britvic calls time on re-usable bottles

Drinks manufacturer Britvic has pulled the plug on its reusable bottle scheme for pubs and clubs.

The long-running scheme had seen juice and mixer bottles returned to Britvic depots around the country after use, for washing and refilling.

Britvic claims using single-use glass bottles, rather than re-usable bottles, will save on lorry journeys

The company is now to phase out the system by the end of 2008, opting instead for new, single-use bottles for products that include J2O and Pepsi. The new glass bottles are to be made by Yorkshire-based Rockware.

Rockware said the single-use bottles were more “appealing” to customers.

But it will add to the 600,000 tonnes of glass bottles thrown out each year by pubs, clubs and restaurants in the UK each year.

Britvic is downplaying the environmental impact of its decision to turn its back on returnable bottles by promoting the recyclable nature of the single-use bottles.

The drinks firm also said using new glass bottles will save on lorry journeys required to return the re-usable bottles that are being phased out.

Nicky Milner, brand manager at Britvic and J2O said: “This step change in presentation with the new NRB glass bottle will make a huge difference. The lorry journeys to and from the depots will be drastically reduced; customers will be able to recycle our bottle alongside other brands; consumers will get a top quality glass bottle every time.”

Rockware, one of the largest producers of glass containers in the UK, said it is adapting its manufacturing process to use lightweight bottles. The company is producing 125 ml and 200ml bottles for the Britvic brands as well as Pepsi, which is made under licence in the UK by Britvic.

The outfit has adapted its manufacturing process to produce much lighter weight bottles over recent years made from a higher proportion of recycled glass. The glass comes from Yorkshire recycling firm Berryman's.

Rockware Glass claims that, according to research from PIRA, pub and club operators continually express a preference for recyclable bottles on the basis of better quality, branding, storage, disposal and administration.

Rod Simmons, sales manager for soft drinks at Rockware Glass, said: “We are keen to support the on-trade with a range of recyclable bottles that are more appealing to consumers, so that our customers can use the bottles as a key positioning factor. Scuffed or dull looking bottles reflect poorly on the brand.”

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