Hallelujah, Coke is making the switch to recycled plastic

Posted: 16 April 2019 10:22 am

Coca-Cola bottles Image: Supplied

The new initiative will save an estimated 16,000 tonnes of new plastic each year.

Coca-Cola Australia and Coca-Cola Amatil have just announced a major increase in recycled plastic. By the end of 2019, Coca-Cola Amatil in Australia will make 70% of its plastic bottles entirely from recycled plastic.

As part of a global commitment to help reduce the world's packaging problem, the move will not just significantly increase the brand's use of recycled content, but it will also keep Coca-Cola on the path of ensuring all of its bottles and cans are made to be recycled. In fact, by 2030, Coca-Cola is committed to collecting and recycling just as many bottles and cans as it sells each year.

Since Coca-Cola is the world's largest beverage company, this change is not insignificant. It equates to saving 16,000 tonnes of new plastic from being manufactured and distributed every year.

This will double Coca-Cola Amatil's use of recycled plastic across its beverage range. It includes all small packages 600ml and under, including brands like Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Mount Franklin and Pump 750ml.

Peter West managing director of Australian beverages at Coca-Cola Amatil said: "We've heard the community message loud and clear – that unnecessary packaging is unacceptable and we need to do our part to reduce it nationwide. That's why we've taken this step to make recycled plastic the norm in more than two-thirds of our Australian beverage product range."

"It's the single largest increase in recycled plastic use in our history, and our strongest step forward in reducing packaging waste and the environmental impact of our operations."

Mount Franklin bottles Image: Supplied

The increased use of recycled plastic initiative is certainly not the first step Coca-Cola has taken towards being a more green company. Other recent examples include the elimination of plastic straws, support for cost-effective well-run container deposit schemes and the company's support for the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

"Our landmark transition to use 100 per cent recycled plastic in bottles began with Mount Franklin Still Pure Australian Spring Water in 2018. Following extensive research and development, this will now roll out across other brands in bottles 600ml and under, across Coca-Cola's soft drink, water and juice products."

Coke's plans to reduce new plastic and recycle more have previously come under fire for being nothing more than a PR spin. Groups like Greenpeace have said that the initiatives don't go far enough.

However, given just how many drinks (and plastic bottles) Coca-Cola sells, even small changes are enough to make a huge difference and certainly encourage others to do the same. As leaders in not just the food and beverage space, but in advertising, marketing and big-business, Coke's changes will almost certainly have a ripple effect across the entire market. Let's hope the brand's competitors accept the challenge.

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