Coca-Cola drops plant-based bottles, introduces 100 percent recycled ones

*The global beverage giant states its new focus will reduce the company’s use of new plastic as a substantial step in combating plastic wastes clogging the world’s waterways in line with its sustainability strategy

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

Coca-Cola Company is introducing 100 percent recycled plastic bottles in the United States (US), a development which is considered a major shift in its sustainability strategy.

The company had been responsible for more plastic pollution in the environment than any other, according to the Break Free From Plastic Campaign, having once advocated for plant-based bottles that do not use fossil-fuel inputs.

The beverage manufacturing company says its new focus is a substantial step in combating the plastic waste that clogs the world’s waterways.

The new recycled Coke bottles will reduce the company’s use of new plastic by more than 20% across its North American portfolio compared to 2018, according to the company.

Alpa Sutaria, Coca-Cola Company’s Vice President and General Manager of sustainability, said this is a change in the way the company reduces waste.

Sutaria stated: “The reality is that that plant-based material, as it’s turned into plastic, is really still a virgin plastic.

That’s not something consumers will stand for anymore, instead telling companies they want reusable and recycled options, said she.

The company is introducing a new 13.2-ounce bottle made of 100 percent recycled PET, or rPET, in addition to making 20-ounce bottles made of rPET.

Sutaria said the size change is partly a reaction to consumer feedback that 20-ounce bottles can be too much, but 12-ounce cans too little.

The new bottles will roll out this month in the northeast, while they’ll arrive in Florida and California and then nationwide later in 2021.

Recall that Coca-Cola pledged in 2018 to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable by 2025, and to use 50 percent recycled material in bottles and cans by 2030.

The next year, it announced that Sweden would become the first market where all its products are sold in fully recycled plastic bottles.

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