Princes Case Study - Packaging

Food and drink Group Princes supplies over 900 million recyclable PET bottles each year within its leading brand ranges including, Napolina, Crisp 'n Dry, Jucee and Aqua Pura. Princes also manufactures customer own brand soft drinks and oils in PET bottles for national retailers.

Princes has taken a significant step in the use of recycled plastic through a long-term partnership approach with its key supplier, enabling over 50% recycled PET to be used in all drinks and oils they produce – some 7% of the UKs plastic bottles.

Recognising the need to increasingly reuse, repurpose and recycle materials, Princes started working with its supply partner Plastipak to introduce recycled PET (RPET) into its soft drinks business back in 2007.

Initial trials at high level inclusions rates were unsuccessful, resulting in discoloured bottles consumers would not accept, but a gradual process of improvement of the feed stock quality saw Princes use of RPET reach 25% in 2015 in all its soft drinks.

The next challenge was not only to move this figure up but source the material from UK recycled plastic. The long-term commitment to sourcing large quantities of RPET gave Princes supplier the commitment needed to make investment in UK recycling infrastructure. Additional investments made in 2017 saw larger quantities of UK material become available and Princes will have implemented 51% RPET in all of its soft drinks and oils – 922m bottles – by the end of 2018.

This move is part of Princes wider work on plastics and recycled content has increased in a number of areas as well as overall weight reduction. They will not commit further to targets but intend to attain fully recycled content for all plastics as soon as possible. Recycling technology and scalability is developing all the time and if local authority collections improve and Deposit Return Schemes are successfully introduced Princes hope there will be an improvement in the feed stock of plastics to the recycling industry.

“This is a significant step for not only ourselves, but the wider grocery industry too as we will reach millions of households through our supply of brands and customer own brand soft drinks and oils. We recognise that too much plastic packaging is thrown away and that more effort needs to be made by all stakeholders to reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle all types of plastic. We are committed to playing our part.”

David McDiarmid Corporate Relations Director, Princes Ltd.