Bottling company Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has collaborated with the University of Reading to introduce a new initiative that will allow the students and staff to purchase soft drinks in reusable bottles.

Under the initiative, the company will deploy new generation Coca-Cola fountain dispensers called ‘Coca-Cola Freestyle machines’ in the university campus.

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The machines are micro-chipped to interact with the dispenser technology, providing and refilling the reusable containers.

The programme will enable CCEP to reduce the amount of packaging used for its products.

Coca-Cola European Partners Great Britain Sustainability head 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.”

The customisable refillable bottles, made by Whirley-Drinks Works, can be bought at the university and give access to users to refill more than 100 drinks over a ten-week term.

“The goal is to help students and staff across the university reduce their personal packaging footprint.”

The new bottles are equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) to directly interact with Validfill dispensing technology.

Alongside tracking payment, the technology will keep a count of the number of refills made on a respective bottle.

CCEP and the University of Reading will assess the impact of the programme on recycling and littering of soft drinks packaging, as well as interact with the students to review their experiences.

The programme forms part of the university’s aim to reduce its carbon emissions by more than one-third of its current level.

Image: 1,500 refillable bottles have already been provided to students in the first two weeks of trial. Photo: courtesy of Coca-Cola European Partners.