Coca-Cola in Western Europe has announced on September 7 that it is taking another important step on its journey in eliminating the use of virgin resin-based plastic that they use in their bottles. Coca-Cola in both Netherlands and Norway said that they would transition to plastic bottles made from 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET).
Before them, the Coca-Cola in Sweden has already announced the same transition back in December 2019, making them the first market to switch to 100% rPET. Coca-Cola in the Netherlands is scheduled to launch its new bottles by October 2020, in which all its locally produced small plastic bottles are already 100% rPET, including other brands like Sprite and Fanta.
Large plastic bottles will follow by 2021, which makes the Netherlands as the second market to make the transition to its locally produced portfolio.
Reducing Carbon Footprint
Coca-cola in the Netherlands hopes that the transition of using rPET will eliminate the use of more than 10,000 tons of new virgin resin-based plastics, which amounts to a 21% reduction in the carbon footprint of its plastic bottles per year.
Moreover, Coca-Cola Norway will also transition to using rPET by the first half of 2021 for all their plastic bottles. They hope to remove 4,300 tons of new virgin resin-based plastics per year that will reduce their carbon footprint by 28% from the plastic bottles they produce each year before the switch.
The primary reason for the switch in Netherlands and Norway is the effective deposit return schemes and rapidly expanding operations in the two countries, which guarantees supply to produce rPET.
In a press release, Coca-Cola revealed that the well-designed Deposit Returns Schemes play a significant role in delivering a circular economy for PET bottles in both countries, which boosts the collection of PET bottles and increases the quality of PET material collected with less contamination, which makes it easier to recycle.
But there are some packaging where the transition will not be applied. These include the Netherlands Coca-Cola/Fanta orange 250ml, Sprite 375ml, and Aquarius/Minute Maid 330ml as these products are produced in Belgium and France. Nevertheless, Coca-Cola said that it only represents 3% of the total sales in the Netherlands.
The switch is also not applicable in Coca-Cola Norway's Fuze Tea and Powerade brands.
According to reports, the transition is part of a joint Sustainability Action Plan called This is Forward by Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe and their primary bottler Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP).
They have pledged that by 2025, they will collect a can or bottle for each item sold, ensure that their packaging is 100% recyclable, and to ensure that by 2025, 50% of the content of its PET will come from recycled materials which shall give birth to their ambition to use zero virgin oil-based PET in its bottles.
In fact, CCEP has just introduced the CanCollar, which is a paperboard packaging for multipack instead of the usual plastics being used, and it is 100% recyclable replacing the current hi-0cone solution, which potentially saves 18 tons of plastic per year.
The CanCollar is made without using any adhesives or glue, which keeps its total carbon footprint and production cost at a minimum. In addition, the CCEP said that this would prevent the need to use more than 11,000 tons of virgin plastic each year across Western Europe.
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