Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has partnered with the University of Reading to reduce the quantity of packaging used for its products.
The programme incorporates a new generation of smart Coca-Cola fountain dispensers with refillable micro-chipped containers.
This micro-chip will interact with the dispenser, allowing both students and staff to buy their soft drinks in reusable bottles.
It is hoped that this scheme will help people reduce their own packaging footprint.
The refillable bottles are manufactured by Whirley-Drinks Works and can be purchased at the university, providing users access throughout the ten-week term.
Students and staff will have access to over 100 drinks from brands such as Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke and Fanta, including low and zero calorie variants, caffeine free and still drinks.
They will also be able to test drinks and flavours within the business’ global portfolio that are not available in British stores.
The bottles contain radio frequency identification (CRF) to interact with the dispensing technology and to ensure payment has been authorised.
CRF will also allow CCEP to track how many times the refillable bottle has been used as well as discover which drink is the most popular.
CCEP and the university will be observing the impact the scheme has on recycling and the disposing of soft drinks packaging.
They will be talking to staff and students about their experience with the technology and the bottles as part of the university’s commitment to decrease its environmental impact.
Coca-Cola European Partners GB head of sustainability Nick Brown said: “We’re hugely excited to have joined forces with the University of Reading on this project. 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.”
University of Reading catering and bars manager Matt Tebbit added: “Around 650,000 plastic bottled drinks are used on our campuses each year, so this partnership will help the university to reduce this considerably. The new drinks machines will cut traffic around campus and carbon emissions as refill cartridges can be delivered by courier rather than lorries.
“The scheme will provide a wider range of low and no calorie drinks options to students and staff, as well as offering free drinking water to everyone – something students had requested.”