Coke announces industry-leading goal for sustainable reusable packaging
By 2030, The Coca Cola Company. aims for at least 25% of all beverages globally in its portfolio of brands to be sold in reusable/returnable glass or plastic bottles, or refillable containers through traditional fountains or Coca-Cola dispensers Freestyling.
“We continue to put consumers at the center of everything we do,” said Elaine Bowers Coventry, Chief Customer and Commerce Officer, The Coca Cola Company. “One way to do this is to offer sustainable types of packaging. Accelerating the use of reusable packaging delivers added value to consumers and customers while supporting our Waste-Free World goal of collecting one bottle or can for every package sold by 2030.”
The company’s Waste-Free initiative remains focused on its three fundamental pillars:
DESIGN: Make all our primary consumer packaging recyclable by 2025. Use 50% recycled materials in our packaging by 2030.
COLLECT: Collect and recycle one bottle or can for every bottle sold by 2030.
PARTNER: Bring people together to support a healthy, debris-free environment.
By increasing its use of reusable packaging, the company says it is promoting a circular economy, as reusable containers have high levels of collection and are low carbon footprint beverage containers, as container collection is integrated into the drink delivery template.
As the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) notes in its Reuse: rethinking packaging reportconverting 20% of global plastic packaging into reuse models is a $10 billion business opportunity that benefits customers and is a crucial part of the quest to eliminate plastic waste and pollution.
Proven experience with reusables
Returnable glass bottles and refillable PET currently account for more than 50% of The Coca-Cola Company’s product sales in more than 20 markets, and more than 25% of sales in another 20 markets.
Traditional reusable/returnable packaging accounted for approximately 16% of the company’s total volume in 2020. Consumable usage is growing in several markets, surpassing non-refillable in Germany and parts of Latin America, where reusable bottles accounted for 27% of transactions in 2020. Markets around the world have become more focused on reusable packaging in recent years thanks to initiatives such as:
- Expand the rollout of the “universal bottle” which was first introduced in 2018 by Coca-Cola Brazil and is now used in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama. This innovative solution improves collection, cleaning and filling efficiency by offering multiple sparkling and still brands in the same reusable bottle with a single color, shape and size. EMF has recognized the universal bottle as a leading practice in reuse.
- Expand the roll-out of 2-litre and 1.5-litre refillable PET plastic bottles (RefPET) – which can be cleaned, refilled and reused before being recycled and turned into new PET bottles – in South Africa.
- Collaborate with crossroads to pilot a circular purchasing system called Buckle™ in France. Consumers can order a variety of products, including Coca-Cola beverages, delivered to their doorstep in personalized packaging that is collected, cleaned, refilled and reused or recycled.
- In partnership with Burger King® and TerraCycle in the United States for a pilot program in selected cities to reduce single-use packaging waste by offering reusable food containers and cups.
- Introducing reusable cups with microchip technology for use with Coca-Cola Freestyle machines for use in theme parks, college campuses and on cruise ships.
These sustainability efforts and others like them have helped pave the way for the global goal of reusable packaging we are announcing today, which will require significant investment, especially in markets where refillable/returnable infrastructure is limited.
“Reusable packaging is among the most effective ways to reduce waste, use fewer resources and reduce our carbon footprint in support of a circular economy,” says Ben Jordan, Senior Director, Packaging and Climate, The Coca -Cola Company. “We will continue to highlight markets that are leading the way in reusable packaging best practices and support other markets as they increase their use of reusable packaging,” Jordan said, adding that each market will address the goal in a different way. -PW