We have a long history of designing packages with the environment in mind. In 1969, our Company commissioned the first study to examine the whole environmental impact of a package, laying the framework for the life cycle assessment methodology used today.
Our focus on life-cycle management has helped us sustain the use of high value recyclable materials and reusable packages. About 85 percent of our global beverage volume is delivered in primary packaging made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, aluminum, glass and steel. The materials are 100 percent recyclable. The remaining 15 percent of beverage volume is largely delivered through highly efficient bulk package systems such as refillable steel tanks or concentrated bag-in-box containers for fountain syrup.
We are advancing sustainable design efforts through an initiative known as e3, which focuses on improving efficiency, life-cycle effectiveness and eco-innovation. For example, using state-of-the-art computer design software, we have effectively reduced and improved the impact resistance of our most recognizable package – the glass contour bottle.
Introduced in 2000, the Ultra Glass contour bottle is designed to improve impact resistance, and reduce weight and cost. The innovative Ultra Glass bottles are 40 percent stronger, 20 percent lighter and 10 percent less expensive than traditional contour bottles. Use of the Ultra Glass design has eliminated 52,000 metric tons of glass -- resulting in a CO2 reduction of 26,000 tons or the equivalent of planting 8,000 acres of trees.
We continue to drive new innovations around bottle closures. We recently rolled out a short height closure that enables us to reduce plastic use from both the closure and bottle by approximately 5 percent. We also have driven material reduction advancements through development of closures without liners.
Throughout our system, we tailor our packaging to meet local economic, social and environmental needs. In least developed markets, we rely more heavily on refillable bottles in order to offer greater affordability to consumers and prevent waste. In other instances, we adjust the amount of material used in PET bottles based on local temperatures to reduce packaging while maintaining product quality.
Creating More Efficient Packaging
In 2010, we continued the innovative lightweighting of our packaging that has proven to save costs, materials and resources. In fact, in 2010 we saved $90 million by reducing packaging waste. Here is a snapshot of our efforts from around the world:
- We launched a 10.5-gram Damla 500-ml PET bottle in Turkey.
- Our operations in the Philippines reduced the use of glass material by 20 percent through the continued rollout of Ultra Glass.
- We avoided $5 million in costs by rolling out the 1881 short-height closure on large polyethylene terephthalate, better known as PET, bottles in North America.
These achievements are a small sample of the latest in a years-long effort to make our packaging more efficient.Cumulatively, since these packaging types were introduced, we have:
- Trimmed the weight of our 20-ounce PET plastic bottle by more than 25 percent
- Shaved 30 percent from the weight of our 12-ounce aluminum can
- Lightened our 8-ounce glass bottle by more than 50 percent