At Coca-Cola, sustainable packaging innovation is in our DNA. We’ve consistently been on the leading edge of bringing consumer-driven, environmentally responsible developments to the marketplace – from commissioning the first-ever environmental lifecycle assessment of packaging in 1969 and launching our first PET bottle in 1978, to introducing the first plastic beverage bottle made with recycled material in 1991 and opening the world’s largest bottle-to-bottle PET recycling plant in 2009.
While the launch of PlantBottle® packaging keeps us on the forefront of plant-based packaging innovation, we continue to strive to make an even better bottle. PlantBottle packaging is currently made through a process that converts sugarcane into monoethylene glycol (MEG), which represents 30 percent of the total composition of PET plastic by weight. We are working with our partners to crack the code on plant-based purified terephthalic acid (PTA) – which accounts for the other 70 percent of PET. This will involves breakthrough science, but we’ve got some of the smartest minds in the field focused on it today.
We’re also working with several strategic R&D partners, including researchers at universities and research institutes globally, to advance technologies to extract sugar from plant-based wastes for future generations of PlantBottle packaging. So, while we are only using sugarcane today, we expect over the long-term to also be able to use natural resources like stems, barks or fruit skins in the near future. Each of these initiatives has a profound impact on our packaging supply chain, which we are literally rebuilding to accommodate the sustainable production and use of PlantBottle packaging.
We want our packaging never to be seen as waste, but rather as a valuable resource for future use. This entails introducing packaging that fuses design, form and function, and uses the most environmentally responsible materials available. Our ultimate long-term goal is a carbon neutral, 100% renewable, responsibly sourced bottle that is fully recyclable – a bottle we can all feel good about.
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