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PlantBottle Benefits

By:  The Coca-Cola Company Jan 1, 2012
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Renewable Material

Today, PlantBottle packaging contains up to 30 percent plant-based material. That plant material replaces approximately one-third of the petroleum-based material that traditionally is used to make PET plastic bottles. Based on our activation of PlantBottle packaging through 2010 and comparing that activation to if we had instead used traditional 100% petroleum-based PET plastic bottles, we reduced the equivalent of 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide or an amount of oil equivalent to about 3 million gallons of gasoline.

Keep in mind, we are just beginning this journey toward the Bottle of the Future. As we expand the number of markets that use PlantBottle, and expand our supply chain and manufacturing capabilities, we expect to increase our use of renewable, plant-waste resources, and further decrease our dependence on non-renewable resources.

Our vision over the long-term is to eventually bring to market plastic bottles that are made with 100 percent renewable raw materials and that are fully recyclable, just like existing PET bottles are. Ultimately, our goal is to develop recyclable plastic bottles made from 100% plant-based waste -- turning waste into a resource.

Recycling

We’re often asked why we design our plastic bottles to be recyclable rather than biodegradable. The answer is simple: because in our view it makes better sense from both an environmental and economic perspective to capture the raw material and energy contained in a plastic bottle and use it again and again, instead of losing it as it degrades. By designing our plastic packages for recycling and investing in programs to drive collection and recovery of our used bottles, we can use the energy and material in a PlantBottle™ package over and over again.

The Coca-Cola Company is committed to supporting recycling efforts, and that is why we were determined to develop a plant-based PET plastic that is completely recyclable in today's existing recycling facilities. The PlantBottle PET plastic packaging is just that -- a 100 percent recyclable bottle, just like traditional PET plastic.

Communities throughout the world have invested heavily in recycling, and we have encouraged and supported these recycling efforts. By using recycled content and PlantBottle PET plastic, we can reduce the amount of natural resources needed to produce beverage bottles and other goods, as well as cut down on related carbon emissions as indicated by preliminary research.*

In 2007, The Coca-Cola Company made an investment of more than $60 million to build the world's largest bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C., and to support recycling in the United States. Rather than having to purchase recycled PET plastic to make new bottles, this plant allows us to recover our own PET plastic bottles, process them ourselves into resin and create new bottles with that resin.

Watch a video on the Spartanburg recycling plant.

In addition to helping us achieve our long-term goal to recycle or reuse 100 percent of our PET plastic bottles in the United States, this bottle-to-bottle recycling plant is expected to eliminate the production of 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 10 years.

We've also made investments in bottle-to-bottle recycling facilities in Australia, Mexico, Austria and the Philippines, and we support efforts throughout the world to recover PET plastic and other beverage container materials for recycling and reuse.

For more information on our recovery and recycling efforts, please visit our Sustainable Packaging & Recycling page.

Carbon Footprint

A product's carbon footprint typically is thought of as the measure of the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted over the full life of that product -- from obtaining the raw materials, through the manufacturing process, the use of the product, and finally to the disposal of the product. The footprint may include the recycling and/or the reuse of the product as well.

Only through knowing what our carbon footprint is and understanding the factors that influence it can we make progress in reducing that carbon footprint.

The Coca-Cola Company has been conducting life cycle assessments on its packaging for more than four decades, giving us data to analyze the environmental impacts of our packaging and help us identify opportunities for improving our footprint.

Our substitution of renewable plant-based material for fossil-based petroleum resources in making PlantBottle packaging provides for a reduction of potential carbon dioxide emissions associated with end-of-life destruction of the package as compared to a conventional 100% petroleum-based bottle, because some of the carbon atoms in PlantBottle packaging come from a renewable source, sugarcane, and emission of those carbon atoms would be offset by the next sugarcane crop’s use of carbon dioxide in the plant’s photosynthesis process. Our work to understand the full range of carbon impacts associated with PlantBottle packaging as compared to traditional 100% petroleum-based PET plastic bottles continues. We are working with leading experts and thinkers on the subject, including Imperial College London and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Germany. We will update our work in this area on this website so that the carbon footprint of PlantBottle packaging is known.*

Learn more about our carbon footprinting efforts.

*Our substitution of renewable plant-based material for fossil-based petroleum resources in making PlantBottle packaging provides for a reduction of potential carbon dioxide emissions associated with end-of-life destruction of the package as compared to a conventional 100% petroleum-based bottle, because some of the carbon atoms in PlantBottle packaging come from a renewable source, sugarcane, and emission of those carbon atoms would be offset by the next sugarcane crop’s use of carbon dioxide in the plant’s photosynthesis process. Our work to understand the full range of carbon impacts associated with PlantBottle packaging as compared to traditional 100% petroleum-based PET plastic bottles continues. We are working with leading experts and thinkers on the subject. We will update our work in this area on this website so that the carbon footprint of PlantBottle packaging is known.