Print pagePrint%20page
News & Media

Recycle for the Future: Coca-Cola Enterprises seeks to transform consumer behaviour towards at-home recycling

Monday, May 20, 2013

  • Study commences with University of Exeter to reveal why at-home recycling rates in Great Britain are below European average
  • Preliminary research reveals clear 'value-action' gap, where people claim they want to recycle and yet don't translate this intention into action
  • Study to explore impact of generational differences, on-pack information and understanding of infrastructure on influencing recycling behaviour

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), which manufactures, bottles and markets Coca-Cola products in Western Europe, has commenced a ground-breaking study with ten GB households to understand why recycling rates are so low despite people expressing strong beliefs towards environmental behaviours.

Preliminary research commissioned by CCE and carried out by YouGov, shows that 76 per cent of British consumers claim to "always" recycle plastic bottles at home and over 64 per cent view recycling as "a moral and environmental duty". However, actual at-home recycling rates do not reflect such intentions and reveal a significant 'value-action gap' as half of all plastic bottles are not collected for recycling. In addition to creating unnecessary waste, this also results in a critical shortage in the supply of locally available high-quality recycled PET for manufacturers.

The release of the initial survey findings marks the next phase of a ground-breaking six-month study with a renowned research institute at the University of Exeter.

Supported by CCE's Recycle for the Future campaign, the study will observe ten GB households over a six-month period, to explore the dynamics that drive waste and recycling behaviours in the home. Together with the participants, they will also explore solutions that could influence such behaviours and eventually improve at-home recycling rates. Results will be shared with local authorities, NGOs and other businesses who are trying to influence environmental behaviours in the home, with the aim of collectively developing solutions that will help improve recycling rates.

Dr. Stewart Barr from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Exeter, said: "Our research team has been working on pro-environmental behaviour change for many years and we are very familiar with the 'value/action gap'. People say they want to be environmentally friendly and want to recycle, but in many cases they don't. This study will explore the intricacies of household decisions on recycling and identify actions that could to drive long-term consumer behaviour change."

  • The study will explore questions such as:
    Who are the environmental champions in the home? Preliminary research reveals a generation gap, with just 54 per cent claiming to always recycle plastic bottles, compared to 87 per cent of over 55s.
  • What is the impact of on-pack information? More than a third (37 per cent) of respondents say they would like to see more information on packaging about what can be recycled, yet 60 per cent state they never check whether a pack is recyclable when they go shopping.
  • Is a lack of understanding in the infrastructure partly responsible for low recycling rates? Over 30 per cent of people in both countries believe the materials they collect are not recycled.

"Our commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of the drink in your hand by a third by 2020 means we must inspire change in consumer recycling behaviour," said Joe Franses, director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. "Recycle for the Future will unlock the dynamics of household recycling behaviours and allow us to explore collaborative solutions to this challenge with the wider sustainability community. We believe this project will provide real value for other businesses, NGOs and public authorities."

CCE has identified that packaging accounts for almost half of its carbon footprint. As part of its commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of its products by a third by 2020, the company has committed to recycle more packaging than it uses.

The study follows significant investment from CCE in a strategic infrastructure partnership to increase plastics reprocessing capacity in Great Britain. Its results will be announced at CCE's Sustainability Innovation Conference in September 2013.

To follow the study or find out more, please visit:

Notes to editors

Notes to Editor
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2084 adults in the UK and 1,008 adults in France. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th - 11th February 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures cited in this media release have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

For more information please contact Coca-Cola Enterprises Press Office:
01895 844 828

About Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd
Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (CCE) is the world's third-largest independent Coca-Cola bottler.  CCE is the sole licensed bottler for products of The Coca-Cola Company in Belgium, continental France, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.

In Great Britain, Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd employs around 4,600 people across England, Scotland and Wales at manufacturing sites, offices and depots.

CCE is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its products and operations, with a particular focus on sustainable packaging and recycling, water stewardship, and energy and climate protection.

For further information please visit

Recycle for the Future

For further information on Recycle for the Future:
Download infographic (pdf 3.09mb)

Video Narrative [opens in a new window]

Recycle for the Future video

Watch our new video on Recycle for the Future.

Coca‑Cola Enterprises, Inc

CCE is the world's third largest independent Coca-Cola bottler. To find out more, visit Coca-Cola Enterprises corporate website:

back to top

© Copyright Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd
Coca-Cola Enterprises Registered Office: Enterprises House, Bakers Road, Uxbridge, UB8 1EZ in England, number 27173. All brand names are registered trade marks of their respective owners.