Ribena redesigns bottle to make it recyclable

About 30 per cent of plastic bottles in Ireland do not get recycled

The company behind Ribena has redesigned its bottle to make it fully recyclable in a bid to cut down on plastic waste.

Up to now the label on Ribena bottles had to be removed for the bottle to be recycled. Most soft drink bottle labels are not recyclable.

Suntory Beverage and Food Ireland (SBFI), the Irish arm of the Japanese beverage giant, has redesigned its product so that the used bottle can be recycled as one complete item.

The new design, which has been almost two years in the making, will remove 202 tonnes of plastic from the Ribena brand across Ireland and Britain, says SBFI.

The new bottles, which will hit Irish shelves in January, is part of SBFI’s plan to eliminate virgin plastic – plastic derived from fossil fuels – from its production chain by 2030. The company plans a similar redesign for its Lucozade bottles.

The rising volume of plastic waste has become a major sustainability issue. Currently about 30 per cent of plastic bottles here do not get recycled, with much of the waste ending up in landfill.

While Ribena bottles are 100 per cent recyclable, the sleeve’s dark colour and length can stop sensors at some recycling plants from identifying the clear recyclable bottle underneath. This can prevent the bottles from being sorted into the waste stream of plastic that can be turned back into bottles.

"This announcement marks the next stage in the evolution of our business in Ireland, and for the soft drinks sector globally," said Mark Aherne, general manager of SBFI.

“Last year we set out our plan to move to 100 per cent sustainable plastic bottles within a decade. The work we are doing as a company across our entire portfolio is aimed at us reaching our 100 per cent sustainable plastic packaging target by 2030, and we’re delighted to be able to bring the new Ribena bottle to Irish shelves in 2021.”

SBFI employs 48 staff directly and a further 70 via contractors.