The accumulation of marine debris and its effect on the global marine ecosystems is a hot topic – and
Bruce Karas, vice president of environment and sustainability,
“We operate in more than 200 countries and have the unique opportunity to make a positive global difference,” Karas said. “We want to do business the right way, which means working to reduce our environmental impact by collecting and recycling our packaging footprint and providing access to clean drinking water.”
Helping Tackle the Problem
In the hearing’s opening remarks, Committee Chairman John Barrasso (WY) said, “Experts believe that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, by weight.” Senators and witnesses echoed this sentiment throughout the hearing and agreed that plastic pollution is a global crisis.
Earlier this year,
The centerpiece of this vision is an ambitious goal to help collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can sold globally by 2030. The
World Without Waste: Design
In the innovation space,
The company's procurement teams work continually with suppliers to grow availability of recycled PET plastic (rPET).
Coke's Research & Development team is also working on chemical recycling technologies with an eye toward future partnerships or piloting.
World Without Waste: Collect
According to Ocean Conservancy, marine plastic is primarily a land-based issue mostly driven by limited collection and waste management infrastructure in emerging markets. Coke is working to better understand recycling data and approaches in different markets where systems do not exist – particularly in ASEAN.
“While there are discussions of ways to incentivize collection and recycling and reuse, it will be important to create a system where material recovery facilities and end markets are able to become strong businesses creating ‘green’ jobs,” Karas said.
“We collectively need to consider that today we have ‘Waste Management 1.0’ with many different players touching different parts of the process, often with variable goals," Karas said. "We should strive to build our infrastructure to ‘Waste Management 2.0’ where it is more vertically integrated and we have given thought to ensuring we have viable end markets established.”
To this end, in Indonesia, the world’s second-largest contributor to ocean plastic,
World Without Waste: Partner
“We recognize that although we are a part of the problem, we cannot solve the packaging waste problem alone. It is for that reason we have created, established, joined and expanded cross-sectoral partnerships around the world," Karas added. "We intend to do all of this not just in a cross-sector way but in a scalable way that drives systemic change.”
The European Union beverage industry association, UNESDA, recently announced a set of new EU-wide ambitions. By 2025, 100% of primary plastic packaging for soft drinks will be recyclable, and soft drink PET bottles will contain a minimum of 25% recycled material.
Coke has worked with the Closed Loop Fund since its inception, predominantly in North America. Recently,
As a founding member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) New Plastics Economy initiative, Coke continues to work with the group on our packaging strategy and metrics. EMF is a leading voice in supporting private-sector innovations to addressing plastic waste.
Finally, the company is actively engaged with the World Economic Forum Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), which focuses on global policy and circular economies in ASEAN. James Quincy, president and CEO of The