Suntory Beverage and Food will replace take-out bottles with 100% recycled plastics

Suntory, which owns brands such as Lucozade, Ribena and Orangina, will switch to 100% recycled tetraphyte polyethylene (rPET) plastic by the end of the year.

The company estimates that this change, which does not include the cap and label, will reduce emissions by more than 36,000 tonnes.

Liz Nieboer, Head of Sustainability at Suntory, said: “Our move to 100% rPET for our 500ml ready-to-drink bottles is a huge achievement and a milestone in our commitment to achieving 100% sustainable packaging for here 2030.

“This is the result of years of hard work and while reaching this milestone is cause for celebration, there is still a lot to do in terms of recycling infrastructure. There has been historic underinvestment in the UK’s recycling and collection infrastructure, meaning less than a third of bottles are converted back to bottles.

Lucozade Sport, Orangina and Ribena bottles are already 100% rPET, but Suntory faces challenges in sourcing Lucozade Energy drinks to meet this new goal.

There is currently a shortage of food grade rPET in the industry, to the point where it is currently 39% more expensive than virgin PET. In an interim step, Suntory will ensure that 30% rPET is used in Lucozade Energy bottles.

Last year, the company unveiled a new prototype bottle made from 100% plant-based materials, as it strives to eliminate all virgin petroleum-based plastics from its PET supply chain.

The bottle was developed through a decade-long partnership with US sustainable technology company Anellotech. While Suntory’s PET bottles are traditionally made from terephthalic acid (PTA) and monoethylene glycol (MEG), the new prototypes consist of vegetable paraxylene derived from wood chips, which has been converted into vegetable PTA, and pre-existing molasses-based vegetable MEG that Suntory has been using in its Suntory Tennensui brand in Japan since 2013.

Suntory aims to commercialize these bottles and they will be used for the Orangina brand in Europe and the Tennensui brand in Japan.

In particular, the company is working to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050. On plastics, its goal is to ensure that all packaging is “completely sustainable” by the end of this decade. The company’s definition of “completely sustainable” covers full recyclability, high recycling rates and the elimination of virgin fossil materials whenever possible.

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