29 March 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Ribena bottle redesign to aid MRF sorting

Drinks brand Ribena is to redesign the 500ml PET plastic bottles it produces for the drink in the UK, to make them easier to recycle within the current recycling infrastructure.

A part of this will be the “reduction of the full printed sleeves” that cover some of the bottles, the drink’s manufacturer Lucozade Ribena Suntory says.

Ribena is to redesign its PET bottles in a bid to ‘aid recyclability’

Full-bottle shrink sleeve labels can interfere with sortation equipment used in recycling and can contaminate recycled PET plastics. Labels with coverage of less than 60% made of PE, PP or OPP are seen as being better for recycling than fully-covered bottles.

It is hoped that by reducing the sleeve and increasing their transparency, automated sorting machines in UK MRFs will be better able to identify the packaging and ensure it is sorted correctly.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory says the work is the “latest move to ensure all its packaging is fully recyclable within the UK’s current recycling infrastructure”.

It has appointed industrial design agency Seymour Powell to lead the redesign.

Sustainable

Commenting on the project, Michelle Norman, director of external affairs and sustainability at Lucozade Ribena Suntory, said: “Lucozade Ribena Suntory takes its sustainability commitments very seriously and we are extremely proud to be announcing this packaging redesign to ensure our brands continue to be as sustainable as possible.

“While we continue to make positive changes to our brands it is important that wider changes are made by companies like us, government and industry to ensure recycling rates in the UK can continue to increase.”

Ribena is currently sold in bottles with a sleeve covering most of the bottle

This comes as the company said that it has also taken steps to ensure its new drinks, like Lucozade Sport Fitwater and Ribena Frusion, are “designed with bottle-to-bottle recycling in mind”.

This has been done by ensuring the packaging is transparent, while its new product Ribena Frusion is also manufactured in recycled plastic (rPET) 420ml bottles, “ensuring no new plastic needs to be produced”.

Impact

Peter Maddox, director at resources charity WRAP, added: “As a founding member of The UK Plastics Pact, I am pleased to see Lucozade Ribena Suntory taking further proactive steps to minimise its impact on the environment. This redesign will help the reprocessing of their drinks bottles, and shows that the company continues to take sustainability seriously. I look forward to seeing the results.”

The company also stressed that “more must be done” to improve the UK’s existing recycling infrastructure to ensure that recyclable products can be recycled.

It also said it is supporting the principle of a well-designed UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme that encourages and increases recycling rates.

The redesign comes amid growing pressure on drinks manufacturers to ensure their products are more recyclable. In 2017, Lucozade bottles, which are made by the same company, were mentioned in a report by the Recycling Association which received nationwide coverage as one of the most difficult products to recycle.

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