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Coca Cola trials refillable bottles for students

Students will be able to buy soft drinks in refillable bottles as part of a new pilot project between Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) and the University of Reading.

Users who purchase a bespoke and customisable bottle will be able to access over 100 drinks, including low and zero-calorie variants of Coca Cola and Fanta, via a new generation of smart Coca-Cola fountain dispensers – known as Coca-Cola Freestyle machines – with refillable containers that are micro-chipped to interact with the dispenser technology.

The aim of the programme, which will initially run throughout the 10-week autumn term, is to help people reduce their own packaging footprint whilst generating insights into how many times the refillable bottle is used and which drinks are most popular.

CCEP and the University of Reading will also be monitoring the impact the scheme has on recycling and littering of soft drinks packaging at the sites where the machines are installed.

The programme forms part of the University’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact, under which it has cut carbon emissions by more than one third.

“As well as supporting a more sustainable packaging system on campus, the trial will allow us to explore consumer behaviours and attitudes towards refillable bottles, with the goal to help students and staff across the university to reduce their personal packaging footprint,” said Nick Brown, head of sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners GB.

“Around 650,000 plastic bottled drinks are used on our campuses each year, so this partnership will help the University to reduce this considerably,” added Matt Tebbit, catering and bars manager at the University of Reading. “The new drinks machines will cut traffic around campus and carbon emissions as refill cartridges can be delivered by courier rather than lorries.”