Coca-Cola 03.07.24

In collaboration with Merlin Entertainments, Coca-Cola is offering VIP experiences at certain family theme parks, in exchange for bringing an empty 500ml plastic bottle and recycling it at one of the specifically designed reverse vending machines (RVMs) across Merlin Entertainments’ UK attractions.

Between July 1st and September 6th, the vending machines will be available across 11 Merlin attractions, including Alton Towers Resort, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, THORPE PARK Resort, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Warwick Castle, and SEA LIFE aquariums in Blackpool and Brighton. Prizes include a behind-the-scenes tour of Legend of the Trebuchet and private history tour at Warwick Castle, a Royal Box experience at the Blackpool Tower Circus, and the 127ft climb of The Swarm rollercoaster at Thorpe Park. 

The company says four extra vending machines have been installed across several attractions since last year to make them easy for guests to find. Machines can also be found by asking staff members at the attraction or using the individual attraction’s app, guiding guests through the parks to recycle their bottles and enter the VIP competition via a website printed on the receipt after recycling. 

Coca-Cola states it is also a long-time advocate of a well-designed Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) to boost the recycling of drinks containers and reduce litter across the country. Together with its bottler, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, the organization has been working with peers in the industry, governments and NGOs for to call for an interoperable DRS.

Jo Padwick, senior sustainability manager at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners GB, said: “The collection and re-use of bottles through initiatives such as these is a significant step forward to supporting a more circular economy and ensuring more of our packaging is collected and prevented from ending up in waste. This comes as we accelerate the use of recycled plastic, with our 500ml bottles now made from 100% rPET.” 

Coca-Cola and Merlin Entertainments also teamed up last year to offer VIP incentives using RVMs, with twenty-eight reverse vending machines distributed across eleven Merlin Entertainments locations. Each reverse vending machine displayed individual branding for each prize.

WestRock and Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages recently installed new equipment at the bottler’s production facility in Philadelphia, seeking to replace an estimated 200,000 pounds of plastic rings used in multipack bottled drinks with recyclable paperboard carriers. Designed to be easy to hold, the carriers are now packaging Coca-Cola’s top brands in 12-ounce (355mm) and 16.9-ounce (500mm) beverage multipacks. 

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola rolled out a new visual design for its Glacéau smartwater brand releasing 12-oz. aluminium cans which hope to tap into consumers’ environmental concerns while ensuring convenient consumption in the spring and summer months. The company claims it will be the first vapour-distilled water to be sold in an individual can.

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