Coca‑Cola is the first company in the Netherlands and Norway to bottle its entire portfolio of locally produced beverage brands in 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) packaging in support of the company’s global World Without Waste strategy.
Both markets transitioned all small plastic bottles to 100% rPET in October – including Coca‑Cola, Sprite and Fanta – with large plastic bottles to follow in 2021. Norway and the Netherlands join Sweden, which completed the switch to 100% rPET in December 2019.
Coca‑Cola currently bottles beverages in 100% rPET in 18 markets globally, a number that continues to climb during the pandemic.
The fully recyclable bottles will be used again and again as raw material for more new bottles, supporting closed-loop recycling systems and circular economies for PET. The switch to 100% rPET in the two countries will eliminate the use of more than 14,000 tons of new virgin oil-based plastic per year.
Joe Franses, vice president of sustainability for Coca‑Cola European Partners (CCEP), said the transition marks an important step in the Coca‑Cola system’s journey in Western Europe to eliminate virgin, oil-based plastic across its packaging within the next decade.
As part of the joint sustainability action plan, “This is Forward”, Coca‑Cola Western Europe and its local bottling partners at CCEP have pledged to collect a can or bottle for every one it sells and ensure that all packaging is fully recyclable by 2025, and ensure that at least 50% of the content of its PET bottles will come from recycled content by 2023. Combined, these efforts will remove more than 200,000 tons of virgin, oil-based PET per year.
Deposit Return Schemes in Norway and the Netherlands support the switch to 100% recycled plastic material. “Crucially, this announcement provides a compelling case for the role that Deposit Return Schemes can play in the creation of local circular economies for beverage packaging,” Franses said. “Markets with well-designed schemes such as those in Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway not only have high collection rates but also have the capacity to collect a higher grade of material with less contamination.”
CCEP recently introduced CanCollar®, a paperboard packaging solution for multipack cans that is fully recyclable and potentially saves more than 18 tons of plastic annually. Developed in collaboration with Atlanta-based packaging company WestRock, CanCollar ring technology is produced from sustainable materials and uses no glue or adhesives, keeping its total carbon footprint and production cost to a minimum. The breakthrough innovation, a first for Europe, will first launch in Spain in November.
Franses said the collaboration with WestRock and Coca‑Cola Western Europe supports the system’s commitment to reduce hard-to-recycle plastic in secondary packaging.