Lucozade pledges to use 100% recycled plastic bottles by 2030
Company says build up of plastic waste is no longer acceptable
LRSI said retail sales of its three brands in Ireland total about €93m annually, with Lucozade responsible for up to 60%. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA
The company behind Lucozade and Ribena says it will use only 100 per cent sustainable plastic bottles across its portfolio by 2030 in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.
Lucozade Ribena Suntory Ireland (LRSI), the Irish arm of the Japanese beverage giant, said plastic waste was no longer acceptable and it was investing in innovation to address the issue.
The plan is to eliminate virgin plastic derived from fossil fuels from its production chain by moving to 50 per cent recycled content across its primary packaging by 2025 and to 100 per cent by 2030. Currently about 30 per cent of plastic bottles here do not get recycled, with much of the waste ending up in landfill. Plastic packaging has become a major battleground in the fight for more sustainable production systems.
“It’s about us being sustainable from a carbon footprint perspective but also having a full circular economy when it comes to plastic,” Mark Aherne, LRSI general manager, said.
“By 2030, we aim to use only plant-based materials or plastic that has been previously used to make our bottles,” he said.
Mr Aherne said the company was also developing a tethered cap container for its drinks to ensure both parts are recycled, which it plans to rollout by 2024. LRSI said retail sales of its three brands in the Irish market total about €93 million annually, with Lucozade responsible for up to 60 per cent.
The sustainability drive comes in the wake of the company’s recent decision to reformulate its drinks, which also include Orangina, with 50 per cent less sugar. LRSI insisted the move was linked to shifting consumer trends and not the Government’s decision to introduce a sugar tax.
Mr Aherne said there had been a temporary dip in sales in 2017 linked to the reformulation but they had subsequently recovered with the company attracting new customers or “lapsed users” with low-calorie products such as Lucozade Zero, launched here in 2017.
The company, which employs 48 staff directly and a further 70 via contractors, is uniquely exposed to Brexit as it sources 100 per cent of its Lucozade and Ribena product from a factory in the UK. Mr Aherne said the company has been working on a Brexit plan to ensure customers here would not run out of stock in the event of a disruption to trade. This involved ensuring it had adequate warehousing space to bring in additional stock should it be required, he said.
“We will increase our stockholding to ensure if there is a delay at the border that we’re covered,” he said.