Coca-Cola launches challenge to improve recycling habits at home


The open innovation platform is being used by Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) to come up with ways to improve recycling habits at home.

Using the platform’s 60,000 users worldwide, over 11 weeks Coca-Cola wants to find out why 75 per cent of British and French people say they always recycled at home, but recycling rates don’t reflect this.


CCE’s Recycle for the Future campaign aims to identify the reasons behind the gap between people’s intentions and actions, and seek meaningful solutions to increase at-home recycling rates.

In a study commissioned by CCE from the University of Exeter, 20 families, couples and single-person households in Britain and France were observed in their own homes for six months.

The findings include:

  • Break a habit to make a habit – People don’t make conscious decisions about recycling. Instead people have instinctive behaviour built into their everyday lives, which doesn’t always include recycling, so new thinking is needed to help break bad habits – and shape new habits.
  • Aesthetics are key – The recycling infrastructure in households must be adjusted. Additional physical space is needed to make recycling a more viable activity, but aesthetics are a barrier, with few study participants willing to make room for a recycling bin.
  • Better information is required – The majority of households do not have an accurate understanding of what happens to their waste once it has been collected, with many not realising that their recycled items are returned to them as other products or packaging, e.g. shampoo bottles or t-shirts.
  • Common misconceptions continue to exist – Households are sceptical about what happens to their recycling once collected, with many believing it is all ‘sent to landfill’ or ‘exported abroad.’
  • Harnessing the power of community – Digital communication and social media could be put to greater use, encouraging people to form new recycling habits.

CCE corporate responsibility and sustainability director Joe Franses said: “Recycling is something in which we all have a role to play, and as one of the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottlers we recognise we have a responsibility to address today’s social and environmental challenges.

“While we can leverage our experience and expertise to educate and inspire consumers to recycle more often, we recognise we don’t have all the answers.

“So we are collaborating with other thought leaders, and the best creative minds in the global community, to help generate ideas that could deliver real change in at-home recycling habits.”

The challenge closes on 17 June 2014 and ideas will be evaluated by the community and an external advisory panel.

The advisory panel will include representatives from the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, P&G, Forum for the Future, WRAP, FostPlus and Casino.