What is Coca-Cola doing to reduce plastic? | iBottling

Coca-Cola plastic

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Coca-Cola is committed to finding solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. They are doing this by cutting down on their use of plastic, investing in sustainable packaging and helping consumers recycle more. Learn how Coca-Cola is tackling this global issue with innovative ideas that will help make a difference!


Challenges to Coca-cola

The Coca-Cola ad with the catchy phrase “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” is from 1971 and is known throughout the world. On a beautiful hilltop, a diverse group of young people from all over the globe hold glasses of Coca-Cola aloft. In this video, they sing in English, “I’d want to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.” It is truly an American classic.

Coca-Cola wants to make us believe it’s on that hilltop again, making us feel refreshed and cheerful, full of nostalgia for its “classic” brand 50 years later at this year’s shareholder meeting.

Meanwhile, around the world, activists are expressing their displeasure loudly – emphasizing that not only does the hilltop now contain a plethora of single-use plastic bottles, but it is also increasingly being covered with new fossil fuel infrastructure designed to produce yet more disposable plastic. That Coca-Cola’s pollution problem is worse than just a litter and ocean issue. Plastic


Why it matters

Many people were unaware of the actual repercussions of Coca-Cola’s ambitious goal on that hilltop. The fact is, Coca-Cola has a severe plastic pollution problem, which is posing a threat to both personal and global health.

This is the third year that Coca-Cola has been named the world’s worst plastic polluter, following global cleanups and brand audits. That means you’re almost certainly to encounter Coke-branded plastic somewhere on your vacation, whether it be on a beach or in a city block.

Coca-Cola and other consumer product corporations have long relied on the myth of recycling to avoid liability for this pollution. They’ve exaggerated recycled content as a means to continue utilizing hazardous single-use plastics while placing the responsibility on all of us to clean up their mess, even though their plastic problem can’t be resolved by recycling or cleanup efforts.

A lonely Coke bottle sits on the bank of the Anacostia River. Single-use plastic is polluting our food, water, and air. Every year, trillions of beverages and snacks with coca-cola supply chain are sold in throwaway packaging, with billions ending up in landfills or fires. The majority is discarded or burned.

Plastic addiction is also exacerbating global warming. As the fossil fuel industry’s profitability has been harmed by worldwide efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, it has started to experience a plastic boom — and a long-term partner in consumer products companies like Coca-Cola. According to experts, packaging already accounts for 40% of total plastic demand. It is expected to rise by around 20% in the next decade.

The fossil fuel industry will continue to develop new extraction and processing capacity as the predicted plastics demand increases, pushing us further into high emissions and making it increasingly difficult to achieve the necessary 1.5 °C capstone goal.


What needs to happen now

How is Coca-Cola able to reach that beautiful hilltop? Suppose Coca-Cola wants to convey its concern for the environment, climate change, and single-use plastics. In that case, it must immediately end its polluting partnership with the fossil fuel industry and its dependency on single-use plastic.

Coca-Cola may stop making plastic if it genuinely cares about the communities suffering most from the climate and pollution problems. For Coca-Cola to live up to its promises, it must invest in systems of reuse that eliminate the toxic plastics polluting these neighbourhoods so they can breathe cleaner air and water, as well as thrive in their homes.

Coca-Cola must reject fossil fuel investments and support refill and reusing systems for its items to keep its climate promises. It’s time for Coca-Cola to get in on the action. We need genuine answers now. It’s what the world wants right now.


Plan of Coca-cola

Coca-Cola talks about plastic reduction: “We need to change the steps in packaging recycling.”

On the road to zero waste and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, Coca-Cola European Pacific Partners (CCEP) is championing a deposit return scheme (DRS) across the UK that will help deliver the best possible outcomes for businesses, consumers and the environment.

CCEP wants to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and has set an interim goal of a 30 percent reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions over ten years. It also plans to achieve zero waste. This is no easy task for the beverage giant with big coca-cola logistics process, which is involved in the marketing, production and distribution of products such as Coca-Cola, Capri-Sun and Monster Energy.

Julian Hunt, vice president of public affairs, communications and sustainability at CCEP (UK, Norway and Sweden), said, “It starts with our packaging, and when it comes to zero waste, we are committed to minimizing the impact of our packaging.”

100 percent recycling circular economy

CCEP further outlined the four pillars of its 100 percent rPET packaging strategy.

Not only will the company remove unnecessary plastic from packaging, but it will also reduce virgin plastic to ensure that all plastic used is 100 percent recyclable. Innovative fillable and dispensable solutions are also crucial, Hunt explains, to ensure that CCEP packaging does not end up as waste.

“We’ve been advocating for the introduction of DRS because, in addition to high recycling rates, we know these programs will ensure that packaging bottles are collected and recycled, giving them a better chance of being turned into new bottles.”

CCEP is making progress but acknowledges there is more that needs to be done. In 2020, CCEP recycled 59 percent of its packaging. That needs to increase to 100 percent by 2025. Similarly, in 2020, 51.5 percent of CCEP’s plastic packaging was rPET, which also needs to reach 100 percent in the next four years. “The benefits of doing so are clear; the carbon footprint of 100 percent rPET is estimated to be about 70 percent lower than using virgin fossil plastics.”

Creating a low-carbon, zero-waste circular economy for PET relies on industry collaboration in four areas: “step change” in packaging recycling, ensuring that bottles are collected and turned back into bottles, supporting recycling capacity, and consumer engagement.

Hunt emphasized that the last point is critical. Consumers need to accept that bottles made from materials with high recycled content are often “slightly darker” than bottles made from virgin fossil plastics. “

While to date, we’ve been using 100 percent rPet for smaller bottles in the UK and Ireland where there is a clear consumer preference,” he said. “In markets such as France or Germany with lower recycling rates, our plastic bottle may be made from a blend of material.”

The company will ensure that it recycles all PET packaging through its “world-class recycling facilities” and ensure that all of its rPET plastic bottles are 100 percent recyclable.

DRS Incentives

As an incentive to support recycling, consumers are required to pay an additional deposit when purchasing beverages with coca-cola raw materials in single-use packaging under the DRS program. The deposit is redeemed when the consumer returns the empty package to a designated location. In May 2020, the Scottish Parliament passed the first national DRS. As of July 2022, the program will be launched, and Hunt said he hopes other countries will follow suit. “The English and Welsh governments are also consulting on a DRS and an expanded approach to producer responsibility.”

Coca-Cola said the DRS will encourage more people to recycle and ensure that more bottles are collected in a clean, efficient way to be re-made into new bottles in a repeat cycle.

It is estimated that the DRS will also create an additional income of £500 million per year for recycling facilities in Great Britain.

“The benefits are huge; it’ll encourage people to recycle, reduce litter and increase collection rates,” Hunt said. “It’s good news for consumers because they get a financial incentive when buying their drink.”



The beverage industry with coca-cola supply chain management is full of challenges. Still, Coca-Cola has managed to stay strong for over 130 years. When you need instruction to navigate the competitive landscape in this industry, we can help! We have a team of experts that have experience working with companies just like yours and are ready to partner up. We are happy to share our expertise with you so that your business succeeds as well! What do you think? Is there anything else about the beverage market or supply chain management coca-cola that interests you?




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John Lau.

John Lau.

John Lau, a project manager holding an engineering bachelor's degree, became fascinated with optimizing beverage production equipment during his university days. As an overseas project manager, he firmly believes that educating clients on achieving efficient workflows through customized equipment design is one of the most impactful aspects of his job.

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