Coca-Cola European Partners case study: Packaging

01 January 2017

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), together with The Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe, launched This is Forward in November 2017. It’s a bold sustainability action plan which sets clear ambitions and commitments to 2025.


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As part of This is Forward, CCEP is committed to leading the way in pioneering sustainable packaging. A challenging strand of the strategy looks at supporting innovation to reduce waste an develop both new packaging materials and new ways to reduce the need for packaging in delivering drinks to consumers.

CCEP has also launched an innovative initiative with the University of Reading which combines the new generatio of smart Coca-Cola fountain dispensers – known as Coca-Cola Freestyle machines – with refillable containers. The containers are micro-chipped to interact with the dispenser technology, allowing students and staff to buy all their soft drinks in reusable bottles. This refill system helps people to reduce their own packaging footprint.

The refillable bottles, manufacturerd by Whirley-Drinks Works, can be purchased at the University, giving users access to pre-paid refills throughout the ten-week term. Students can choose from over 100 drinks from a range of well-known brands. The hygeinic, durable bottles last for many years and can be purchased on a variety of refill plans. Free filtered water is also available at every machine.

The technology used in the bottles will allow CCEP to track how many times the refillable bottle is used and which drinks are most popular.

CCEP and the University will be monitoring the impact the scheme has on recycling and littering of soft drinks packaging, and will be talking to students and staff about their experiences of using refillable bottles.

Around 650,000 plastic bottles drinks are used on the Reading campuses each year, so the partnership will help the University to reduce this considerably. The new drinks machines will also cut traffic around campus and carbon emissions, as refill cartridges can be delivered by courier rather than lorries.

View Ambition 2025 Progress Report 2017.

“Sustainability has been at the heart of our business for many years. While we have made tremendous progress, we believe that there is much more we can do as we grow our business in a responsible and sustainable way that makes our employees and stakeholders proud. This is Forward is a critical part of our long-term business strategy and sets our how we intend to play a meaningful role in helping to address many of the key societal issues that people are most concerned about.”

Leendert den Hollander

VP and General Manager, Coca-Cola European Partners