The Coca-Cola Company today announced an industry-leading goal to significantly boost its use of reusable packaging. By 2030, the company aims to have at least 25% of all beverages globally across its portfolio of brands sold in refillable/returnable glass or plastic bottles, or in refillable containers through traditional fountain or Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers. 

The company’s World Without Waste initiative remains focused on its three core pillars:

DESIGN: Make all of our primary consumer packaging recyclable by 2025. Use 50% recycled material in our packaging by 2030.

COLLECT: Collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030.

PARTNER: Bring people together to support a healthy, debris-free environment.

By increasing our use of reusable packaging, we promote a circular economy as refillable containers have high levels of collection and are low-carbon footprint beverage containers, because the container collection is built into the beverage delivery model.

As the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) notes in its Reuse: Rethinking Packaging report, converting 20% of global plastic packaging into reuse models is a $10 billion business opportunity that benefits customers and represents a crucial element in the quest to eliminate plastic waste and pollution.

A Proven Track Record with Reusables

Returnable glass bottles and refillable PET currently represent more than 50% of The Coca-Cola Company’s product sales in more than 20 markets, and more than 25% of sales in another 20 markets. 

Traditional refillable/returnable packaging accounted for approximately 16% of the company’s total volume in 2020. Use of refillables is growing in several markets, outperforming non-refillables in Germany and parts of Latin America, where reusable bottles represented 27% of transactions in 2020. Markets around the world have increased their focus on refillable packaging in recent years through initiatives that include:

  • Expanding the rollout of the “Universal Bottle” that was first introduced in 2018 by Coca-Cola Brazil and is now used in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama. This innovative solution drives efficiency of collection, cleaning and filling by offering multiple sparkling and still brands in the same reusable bottle with a single color, shape and size. EMF recognized the Universal Bottle as a leading practice on reuse.
  • Expanding the rollout of refillable 2-liter and 1.5-liter PET (RefPET) plastic bottles—which can be cleaned, refilled and reused before being recycled and made into new PET bottles—in South Africa.
  • Collaborating with Carrefour to pilot a circular shopping system called Loop™ in France. Consumers can order a variety of products, including Coca-Cola beverages, delivered to their home in customized packaging that is collected, cleaned, refilled and reused or recycled.
  • Partnering with Burger King® and TerraCycle in the United States for a pilot program in select cities to reduce single-use packaging waste by offering reusable food containers and beverage cups.
  • Introducing reusable cups with microchip technology for use with Coca-Cola Freestyle machines for use at theme parks, and on university campuses and cruise ships.

These and other similar sustainability efforts helped pave the way for the global reusable packaging target we are announcing today, which will require significant investment, particularly in markets with limited refillable/returnable infrastructure.

“Reusable packaging is among the most effective ways to reduce waste, use fewer resources and lower our carbon footprint in support of a circular economy,” said Ben Jordan, Senior Director, Packaging and Climate of The Coca-Cola Company. “We will continue to highlight markets that are leading the way with reusable packaging best practices, and to support other markets as they increase their use of reusable packaging,” Jordan said, adding that each market will approach the goal in a different way.

Forward-Looking Statements:

This  press  release  may  contain  statements,  estimates  or  projections  that  constitute  “forward-looking  statements”  as defined  under  U.S.  federal  securities  laws.  Generally,  the  words  “believe,”  “expect,”  “intend,”  “estimate,”  “anticipate,” “project,”  “will”  and  similar  expressions  identify  forward-looking  statements,  which  generally  are  not  historical  in nature.  Forward-looking  statements  are  subject  to  certain  risks  and  uncertainties  that  could  cause  The  Coca-Cola Company’s  actual  results  to  differ  materially  from  its  historical  experience  and  our  present  expectations  or projections.  These  risks  include,  but  are  not  limited  to,  the  negative  impacts  of,  and  continuing  uncertainties associated  with  the  scope,  severity  and  duration  of  the  global  COVID-19  pandemic  and  any  resurgences  of  the pandemic,  including  the  number  of  people  contracting  the  virus,  the  impact  of  shelter-in-place  and  social  distancing requirements,  the  impact  of  governmental  actions  across  the  globe  to  contain  the  virus,  vaccine  availability,  rates  of vaccination,  the  effectiveness  of  vaccines  against  existing  and  new  variants  of  the  virus,  governmental  or  other vaccine  mandates  and  potential  associated  business  and  supply  chain  disruptions,  and  the  substance  and  pace  of the  post-pandemic  economic  recovery;  an  inability  to  realize  the  economic  benefits  from  our  productivity  initiatives, including  our  reorganization  and  related  strategic  realignment  initiatives;  an  inability  to  attract  or  retain  a  highly skilled  and  diverse  workforce;  increased  competition;  an  inability  to  renew  collective  bargaining  agreements  on satisfactory  terms,  or  we  or  our  bottling  partners  experience  strikes,  work  stoppages,  labor  shortages  or  labor unrest;  an  inability  to  be  successful  in  our  innovation  activities;  changes  in  the  retail  landscape  or  the  loss  of  key retail  or  foodservice  customers;  an  inability  to  expand  operations  in  emerging  and  developing  markets;  increased cost,  disruption  of  supply  or  shortage  of  energy  or  fuel;  inflationary  pressures;  increased  cost,  disruption  of  supply  or shortage  of  ingredients,  other  raw  materials,  packaging  materials,  aluminum  cans  and  other  containers;  an  inability to  successfully  manage  new  product  launches;  obesity  and  other  health-related  concerns;  evolving  consumer product  and  shopping  preferences;  product  safety  and  quality  concerns;  perceived  negative  health  consequences  of certain  ingredients,  such  as  non-nutritive  sweeteners  and  biotechnology-derived  substances,  and  of  other substances  present  in  our  beverage  products  or  packaging  materials;  damage  to  our  brand  image,  corporate reputation  and  social  license  to  operate  from  negative  publicity,  whether  or  not  warranted,  concerning  product  safety or  quality,  workplace  and  human  rights,  obesity  or  other  issues;  an  inability  to  maintain  good  relationships  with  our bottling  partners;  deterioration  in  our  bottling  partners’  financial  condition;  an  inability  to  successfully  integrate  and manage  consolidated  bottling  operations  or  other  acquired  businesses  or  brands;  an  inability  to  successfully manage  our  refranchising  activities;  increases  in  income  tax  rates,  changes  in  income  tax  laws  or  the  unfavorable resolution  of  tax  matters,  including  the  outcome  of  our  ongoing  tax  dispute  or  any  related  disputes  with  the  U.S. Internal  Revenue  Service  (“IRS”);  the  possibility  that  the  assumptions  used  to  calculate  our  estimated  aggregate incremental  tax  and  interest  liability  related  to  the  potential  unfavorable  outcome  of  the  ongoing  tax  dispute  with  the IRS  could  significantly  change;  increased  or  new  indirect  taxes  in  the  United  States  and  throughout  the  world; changes  in  laws  and  regulations  relating  to  beverage  containers  and  packaging;  significant  additional  labeling  or warning  requirements  or  limitations  on  the  marketing  or  sale  of  our  products;  litigation  or  legal  proceedings; conducting  business  in  markets  with  high-risk  legal  compliance  environments;  failure  to  adequately  protect,  or disputes  relating  to,  trademarks,  formulae  and  other  intellectual  property  rights;  changes  in,  or  failure  to  comply  with, the  laws  and  regulations  applicable  to  our  products  or  our  business  operations;  fluctuations  in  foreign  currency exchange  rates;  interest  rate  increases;  unfavorable  general  economic  conditions  in  the  United  States  and international  markets;  an  inability  to  achieve  our  overall  long-term  growth  objectives;  default  by  or  failure  of  one  or more  of  our  counterparty  financial  institutions;  impairment  charges;  failure  to  realize  a  significant  portion  of  the anticipated  benefits  of  our  strategic  relationship  with  Monster  Beverage  Corporation;  an  inability  to  protect  our information  systems  against  service  interruption,  misappropriation  of  data  or  breaches  of  security;  failure  to  comply with  personal  data  protection  and  privacy  laws;  failure  to  digitize  the  Coca-Cola  system;  failure  by  our  third-party service  providers  and  business  partners  to  satisfactorily  fulfill  their  commitments  and  responsibilities;  failure  to achieve  ESG  goals  and  accurately  report  our  progress  due  to  operational,  financial,  legal,  and  other  risks,  many  of which  are  outside  our  control,  and  are  dependent  on  the  actions  of  our  bottling  partners  and  other  third  parties; increasing  concerns  about  the  environmental  impact  of  plastic  bottles  and  other  packaging  materials;  water  scarcity and  poor  quality;  increased  demand  for  food  products  and  decreased  agricultural  productivity;  climate  change  and legal  or  regulatory  responses  thereto;  adverse  weather  conditions;  and  other  risks  discussed  in  our  filings  with  the Securities  and  Exchange  Commission  (the  “SEC”),  including  our  Annual  Report  on  Form  10-K  for  the  year  ended December  31,  2020  and  our  subsequently  filed  Quarterly  Reports  on  Form  10-Q,  which  filings  are  available  from  the SEC.  You  should  not  place  undue  reliance  on  forward-looking  statements,  which  speak  only  as  of  the  date  they  are made.  We  undertake  no  obligation  to  publicly  update  or  revise  any  forward-looking  statements.