Public opinion backed by legislation is moving mountains – of EU trash that is.
Coca-Cola brands announced that Honest Tea, GlacéauSmartwater and Chaudfontaine brands as well as Swiss marketed HBC water will soon all be bottled in recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET). The decision will replace nearly 10,000 metric tons of virgin plastic in the European Union countries* where these products are sold.
Glacéau and Honest Tea have a huge following in the U.S. with smaller sales in Europe, according to the company, but “wherever you buy these brands in our Western European markets, you will find them in a bottle that is entirely made from recycled plastic.”
Coca-Cola estimates it will use 66,138 metric tons of recycled plastic in 2019.
To expand the availability of plastic stock, Sprite will no longer be bottled in green PET, according to the company.
Ron Lewis, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Coca-Cola European Partners said, “We know people have high expectations of companies to make the products they love in a sustainable way, and we’re committed to meeting those expectations. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that every bottle or can we sell is collected, recycled, and reused. By moving Sprite from a green bottle to a clear bottle, the material can easily be recycled and used again to make another bottle.”
Coca-Cola first began using recycled PET in the 1990s and has since invested in enhanced recycling technologies to improve the availability of food-grade rPET for bottles. The company aims to make all its consumer packaging 100% recyclable by 2025 and ensure its packaging is made of at least 50% recycled material by 2030.
Bruno van Gompel, Technical and Supply Chain Director for Coca-Cola Western Europe, said These new technologies expand the types of plastic waste streams that can be recycled back into bottles, allowing a broader range of collected materials to become part of the circular economy. It also enables us to use collection streams that were normally going to incineration or landfill. Investments in scale-up technologies such as these help us accelerate our use of recycled plastic in our bottles.’
In June Coca-Cola joint venture partner Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) introduced Valser, its third European water brand exclusively in rPET bottles. The brand joins Deep RiverRock and Römerquelle which are now available in environmentally friendly packaging.
Marcel Martin, group supply chain director at HBC said the company will soon increase its commitment to four brands in four countries: “clear evidence of concrete progress on the commitment we and our strategic partner The Coca-Cola Company have made to be active and effective on this critical environmental issue.”
“Clearly there is more work to do in building systems and approaches that allow us to collect and recycle more of our packaging materials, but this is a big step forward in ensuring that plastic already in circulation is reused and given more than one life,” he said.
In addition to sustainable packaging, the Valser brand of sparkling water is pioneering methods of recovering CO2 directly from air, in partnership with Climeworks. All PET bottles will consist of 100% recycled materials before the end of 2019, according to the company.
*Markets include Andorra, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden