After Coca-Cola switched the non-returnable PET bottles of its ViO, Fuze Tea and Powerade brands in Germany to recycled material in the spring, the core brands Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, Coke light, Fanta, Sprite and mezzo mix are now following this example. Their “On the Go” packaging (up to and including 0.5 litres) will now also be packaged in bottles made of 100 per cent recycled PET.
With this measure, Coca-Cola in Germany is exceeding its self-imposed target of using at least 50 per cent recycled material in the production of non-refillable of non-refillable PET bottles by 2023. The company caöculates that in 2021, it will save around 28,000 tonnes of virgin material by converting the above-mentioned packs to 100% rPET. This results in a CO2 saving of about 48,700 tonnes.
The long-term goal is to stop using virgin PET for beverage packaging, says Coca-Cola. However, the path to this goal is challenging due to numerous reasons. “rPET is a raw material that is in demand, has limited availability and is also sourced by other sectors in the economy,” explains Dr Stefan Kunerth, Technical Operations Director in Western Europe. “Currently, only about 40 per cent of disposable PET bottles are turned into new bottles again. It is important to know: every bottle that leaves the deposit cycle of beverage bottles becomes unusable for the beverage industry. This is because we need uncontaminated PET material from food packaging from the deposit system for rPET production. That is why we want to motivate everyone to do their part to close the recycling loop.” Promoting closed-loop recycling is a key component of Coca-Cola’s sustainability strategy.