Coca-Cola is making a major change that may have a big impact on recycling its packaging.
Coca-Cola Co. (KO) - Get Coca-Cola Company Report adopted a sustainable packaging initiative World Without Waste in 2018 to help solve the global plastic waste crisis with a goal of making 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025 and using at least 50% recycled material in packaging by 2030.
Coke set a target to use 3 million tons less of virgin plastic from oil-based sources by 2025. The company said it will strive for this 20% reduction by investing in new recycling technologies like enhanced recycling, packaging improvements such as light-weighting, alternative business models such as refillable, dispensed and fountain systems, as well as the development of new renewable materials.
The soft drink giant took a major step in October 2021 when it unveiled its first-ever beverage bottle made from 100% plant-based plastic, excluding the cap and label. The company at the time had produced a limited run of 900 prototype bottles.
The prototype bottle came over a decade after Coca-Cola debuted its PlantBottle in 2009, the world's first recyclable PET plastic bottle made from 30% plant-based material.
Coke affiliates Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) - Get Coca-Cola Europacific Partners plc Report have come up with a simple and genius design of the classic Coke bottle to reduce litter and simplify the recycling process. It will now be more difficult for you lose or misplace the bottle cap that you will need to seal a bottle that still has a drink in it. Fewer separated bottle caps will be strewn across public areas and even your home, thus reducing ugly litter. And it will be easier to keep the caps for recycling along with the bottle..
What's New With Coca-Cola?
The Coca-Cola partnership has unveiled new, attached caps to its plastic bottles, which began production on May 17 at CCEP's East Kilbride, Scotland, plant and will soon be available in Scotland and North of England on various Coke brands that include Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke and Fanta. The transition to attached bottle caps will be completed on all plastic bottles across Coca-Cola GB's range of brands that also include Coca-Cola Original Taste and Sprite by early 2024.
Coca-Cola has not indicated if or when it will introduce the new attached cap design in the U.S.
All of Coke's bottles, including the caps, have been 100% recyclable for many years but not all are being recycled, the company said in a statement. Bottle caps are often discarded and littered. The new design means that the cap stays connected to the bottle after opening, so the whole plastic bottle and attached cap can be recycled together.
Reaching a Recycling Target
Coke's sustainability and recycling efforts are noble, since any measures to promote plastic bottle recycling are desperately needed, as a United Nations Environment Programme report said 85% of single-use food and beverage containers end up in landfills or as unregulated waste.
CCEP in 2021 said that it reached its target of using 100% recycled plastic, excluding caps and labels, in all of its 500 milliliter or smaller bottles sold in Great Britain, which helped save 29,000 tons of plastics per year.
The company's attached bottle caps will be added to production at CCEP's Edmonton, North London, plant later this year and throughout Great Britain over the next 18 months.