Valpré, one of the more respected water brands in the world, is debuting PlantBottle packaging at its new state-of-the-art facility in Heidelberg, South Africa.

This is the 10th market in the world to produce the energy-saving bottles made partially from plants—and the first in Africa.

To date, more than 2.5 billion beverage bottles have been produced using The Coca-Cola Company’s revolutionary PlantBottle packaging, which exceeds the Company’s stated goal of 2 billion bottles by the end of 2010, eliminating the need for approximately 60,000 barrels of oil.

Better Bottles for the Planet

The fully recyclable bottles are made with 30 percent plant material that looks and functions just like traditional polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, commonly used to package soft drinks. But PlantBottle technology has a lighter footprint on the planet, thanks to a reduced dependence on fossil fuels for its production.

The Company’s long-term goal is to transition all plastic packaging to PlantBottle or other types of packaging that use renewable and recycled materials.

Better Manufacturing Environment

The South African plant is also undergoing LEED certification, an internationally recognized program that is the accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

Valpré’s new facility not only maximizes recycled materials, but it also makes optimal use of its water resources and solar energy, with a zero-to-landfill goal.

According to Charlotte Metcalf, executive director of the South African National Bottled Water Association, both the Heidelberg plant and PlantBottle packaging significantly advance the bottling industry's green strategy.

In addition to LEED certification, the plant will "boost its solid waste recovery—all while providing its market with a sustainable product packaged in a bottle that takes a giant step toward using renewable resources," Metcalf says.

Heidelberg was selected for the location of the new plant for its proximity to markets and distribution sites in the populous Guateng Region. The plant will also help Coca-Cola South Africa meet the increasing demand for bottled water in the country.

Better Job Opportunities for Local Workers

A team of local women largely run the plant, reinforcing The Coca-Cola Company's commitment to positively impact the communities where it operates.

In 2010 Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, announced the Company's 5 by 20 pledge, which aims to empower 5 million female entrepreneurs by 2020 through the Coca-Cola system.

"The opening of the new Valpré plant in Heidelberg and the launch of PlantBottle support the government's mandate to create infrastructure, develop skills, increase the number of women in the workforce and ensure sustainable development, with a focus on minimizing the impact on the environment," says Bomo Edna Molewa, minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of the Republic of South Africa. "It is a notable example of the kind of development that we encourage all South African industries to adopt."