The sample bottles contain 25% recycled marine plastics. Although the process is currently considered a proof of concept, Coca-Cola claims it “is the first successful attempt to incorporate ocean plastics in food and drink packaging.”
Called depolymerization, the process assists the low grade plastics to be broken down, reformed, stripped of its impurities and rebuilt into materials used to create food-grade quality PET plastic. Previously, lower-grade, non-transparent and colored plastics could not be “up-cycled” into bottles.
The company’s efforts to improve the re-cycling and collection of its products in Western Europe has been increased and the company plans to use the new process in its bottles from 2020.
Coca-Cola Western Europe’s president Tim Brett said:
‘’Too many of the world’s finite resources are currently discarded as waste. We know we need to do more to correct this. The targets we have set out today are ambitious and rightly so. There is a valuable role for packaging, but it must always be collected, recycled and reused.
‘’Our aim, working in partnership, is to see the term ‘single-use plastic’ become redundant, both in our business and beyond, as all of our plastic – and indeed all of our packaging – is delivered within a closed loop.’’
A 2018 Greenpeace report found that Coca-Cola was the largest corporate plastic polluter in the world. In a detailed survey of 239 clean-ups in 42 countries across six continents, where volunteers collected more than 180,000 pieces of plastic, 14% of the branded items collected where from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé collectively.
This year Coca-Cola invested €180m ($199m) into sustainable packaging across Western Europe and also unveiled new targets with the debut of their ocean plastic bottles. The target’s goal is to support the company’s overall vision of a “world without waste” and are part of Coca-Cola European Partners and Coca-Cola in Western Europe’s joint Sustainability Action Plan. The organizations have pledged to collect a can or bottle for each one it sells, ensure that all its packaging is 100% recyclable, and that its plastic bottles will contain at least 50% recycled content.
Currently, they are committed to the removal of all unnecessary and hard to recycle plastic from its portfolio through light-weighting as well as the removal of secondary plastic packaging which will eliminate over 11,000 tons of plastic per year. Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) recently announced it will end the use of shrink-wrapped plastics across all can multi-packs it sells in Great Britain.
Coca-Cola is working towards a goal of 100% recycled or renewable materials in all of its plastic bottles, avoiding the use of more than 200,000 tons of virgin plastic per year. Should a renewable or recycled alternative fail, the company will publicly support deposit return schemes across Western Europe.
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