News

Our sustainable packaging progress in 2020

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Joe Franses

04/08/2020

The first half of the year has been dominated in so many ways by COVID-19. It has impacted lives and livelihoods, but also prompted positive discussion about what sort of world and society we want to live in.

People and organisations are looking for more and new ways to help the environment. This focus may determine how we look back on the environmental impact of coronavirus.

We are on a mission to find the most sustainable ways for people to enjoy our drinks, as part of a circular economy, that are right for them and right for the planet.

Our strategy is simple. We want to use less packaging where we can and, for the packaging we do use, focus is on the circularity of that packaging.

Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the teams responsible for delivering this vision have continued to act with urgency in the first half of the year to reduce the impact our of packaging.

A Green Future

Despite the challenges that the pandemic has presented and the enormous strain that it has placed on economies and communities around the world, there is growing recognition that we have the chance to rethink our existing systems as we plan to Recover Better.

We have put a green future at the heart of our vision for the business and our strategy.

A key part of this is our approach to sustainable packaging. In October 2019, we announced an evolved commitment to reach 50% recycled plastic (rPET) in our bottles by 2023, two years ahead of our original schedule, with the aim of achieving 100% rPET in the future.

For example, this year we transitioned all our locally produced bottles in Sweden to 100% rPET, a first globally for The Coca-Cola Company.

We have invested CuRe, an emerging recycling technology, which has the transformational potential to upcycle lower grade plastic that cannot currently be recycled via mechanical recycling means and is instead downcycled, incinerated or sent to landfill.

This innovation partnership from CCEP Ventures will enable CuRe to accelerate its recycling technology through an initial pilot plant and demonstration plant stages to a point of commercial readiness. As part of the funding, we will receive the majority of the output from a CuRe Technology-licensed, new-build plant which will help to take us further on our journey to 100% rPET, which we now aim to achieve within the next decade.

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Since July, our products have been available for consumers to buy through Loop Terracycle in Great Britain, in partnership with Tesco. Through Loop, consumers can enjoy our great drinks in packaging that can be collected, reused and recycled. Great Britain is the second country where we have trialled this approach, having worked with Loop Terracycle and Carrefour in France.

Finally, we continue to work with our partners at The Coca-Cola Company on Coca-Cola Freestyle – to give consumers more access to this innovative refill system, which helps people to reduce their own packaging footprint.

Importantly, a new contact-less Coca-Cola Freestyle solution allows consumers to choose and pour a drink from their phone in just a few seconds. The Coca-Cola Freestyle team is also patenting a touch-free solution for legacy fountain dispensers.

Despite the many challenges of this most unprecedented first half of the year, I am grateful to my colleagues who continued to focus on these important issues and have shown great commitment to keep driving progress in the transition to a circular economy as part of our future packaging mix.

-- Joe Franses, VP Sustainability Coca-Cola European Partners