(Photo credit: The Coca-Cola Company)

Global goals

A vision of a Circular Economy: Coca Cola's packaging aspirations for the U.S.

| Sustainability | PETnology Staff Writer

Memo: In a recent article on the Coca-Cola Company website, Bruce Karas (VP Sustainability and Environment, Coca-Cola North America) describes Coca-Cola’s packaging aspirations for the US and their global goal to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of the packaging they sell by 2030. 

Karas illustrated Coca-Cola initiatives, that were designed to help with the creation of a ''true'' circular economy. In his opinion the foundation for ideal circulation of material was an optimal recycling product design. Consequently less and less waste would be generated. Coca-Cola's own inhouse packaging was already designed in such a way. It would not only take consumer interests, for example convenience and portability, into account, but also maximize benefits and minimize environmental impact.

According to Karas, Coca-Cola these days already has approached this goal with the following measures: Approximately 99% of all Coca-Cola packaging in the U.S. was recyclable, including caps. Coca-Cola followed design standards, such as the Association of Plastic Recyclers. In addition, 30% of all Coca-Cola plastic bottles were partially made from renewable plant material („Plant Bottle“), which reduced the dependence on oil compared to PET.

As stated by Karas, it first of all would be necessary to tackle the great challenge of increasing the country's low recycling rate. Not only their own packaging in mind, but all recyclable materials used by Americans. For this Coca-Cola has entered numerous partnerships. However, the set measures were only a beginning, and in further partnerships with municipalities, associations, industry and consumers, the long-term goal would be to ensure that used packaging will only arrive, where it gets recycled in the end.