Increasing the recycling rate of PET plastic bottles

PET plastic bottles with white capsules

In the summer of 2019, Altia carried out its first responsibility campaign aimed directly at consumers. The campaign was built around bottle recycling. The circular economy lies at the core of Altia’s responsibility and sustainability programme, and the circulation of PET plastic bottles is an important part of it. When returned, a PET bottle is the most ecological packaging alternative for liquids, thanks to its recyclability and low carbon footprint.

The return rates for PET plastic bottles in the Nordic countries are among the highest in the world – 83% in Sweden and 90% in Finland. But when you look at small PET bottles the size of hip flasks, the return rates are markedly lower – only around half the bottles are returned. Every tenth bottle ends up somewhere other than a deposit machine. All in all, this means millions of small bottles a year.

Small bottles often end up in garbage bins instead of deposit machine

According to a survey conducted by Altia, the reason for the lower return rates for small flask-type bottles is that they tend to be used on the road. The small and handy PET bottles are easy to carry to events, picnics, pre-parties, in golf bags, on skiing trips or to holiday homes, after which they often end up in conventional garbage bins.

Summer involves a lot of outdoor eating and drinking, so the campaign was timed to be in full swing in June–July. The multi-channel campaign included digital outdoor advertising, social media contents, the “A bottle’s journey” campaign page and a press release. A “Return me!” label was also added to Altia’s best-selling small bottles during the campaign.

8% rise in the return rate of small bottles

The campaign reached the buyers of small bottles successfully, and the return rate for Altia’s flask-size PET bottles rose 8% in June–August on average compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.

In packaging terms, Altia’s new Sustainability Roadmap 2030 aims to improve the return rates for beverage packages by continuing the consumer campaigns in the company’s home markets.

Ohrapeltokuvitusta, jonka päällä kuva PET-muovipullosta sekä tekstit Pienikin pullo kuuluu automaattiin ja Palauta minut