After Coca-Cola in Germany switched the non-returnable PET bottles of its brands ViO, Fuze Tea and Powerade to recycled material in the spring, the core brands Coca-Cola, Coca- Cola Zero, Coke light, Fanta, Sprite and mezzo mix their “On the Go” packaging (up to and including 0.5 liters) is now also being sold in bottles made from 100 percent recycled PET. With this measure, Coca-Cola in Germany is already exceeding its self-set goal of using at least 50 percent recycled material for the production of non-refillable PET bottles by 2023. In 2021 the company will save around 28,000 tons of new material by converting the above-mentioned packs to 100% rPET. This results in a CO2 saving of approx. 48,700 tons.
As the largest beverage manufacturer in the world, Coca-Cola is aware of its responsibility and uses all its possibilities to influence sustainable change: The declared goal is to reduce the use of new material in the production of PET non-returnable bottles and to make new ones out of old bottles. The prerequisite for this is a functioning take-back system. That is why Coca-Cola sells 99.9 percent of the packaging in Germany with a deposit that can either be recycled or refilled. Coca-Cola would like to raise awareness of this with a campaign for consumers:
- OOH motifs in the cityscape raise awareness of the topic of recycling from week 36 onwards.
- Consumers take informative content on the website, in social media and other communication channels with them on the journey of packaging in the recycling cycle.
- In cooperation with Coca-Cola, influencers use their reach to sensitize their communities to the topics of collection, recycling and sustainable packaging. In this way, they raise awareness of what each individual can actively contribute to a world without waste.
Current survey: Disposable, reusable, where do you put it? How well the Germans know their way around
According to a current representative survey*, 90 percent of Germans are convinced that they know the difference between disposable and reusable packaging. What seems to be less well known: one-way does not mean “one way”. The empty bottles that end up in the deposit machine can be turned back into new drinks bottles with the help of a closed recycling system. In an extensive recycling process, they are processed back into the raw material "rPET", which can be used for the production of new food packaging. When it comes to PET packaging, consumers are not yet aware of the sustainability aspect of rPET bottles: So far, only 17 percent of those surveyed consciously use recycled PET packaging when buying soft drinks.
It doesn't work without packaging: rPET is a raw material in demand today
Packaging is essential for protecting and transporting products. That is why Coca‑Cola relies on a mix of reusable and one-way packaging, each with a deposit, made from different materials. The long-term goal is clear: No new PET material should be used for beverage packaging. The way there is a challenge for a number of reasons. "rPET is a sought-after raw material with limited availability, which is also obtained from other branches of the economy," explains Dr. Stefan Kunerth, Technical Operations Director in Western Europe. “At the moment only about 40 percent of non-returnable PET bottles are made into new bottles. It is important to know that every bottle that leaves the beverage bottle's deposit cycle becomes unusable for the beverage industry. Because we need pure 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 material cycle. ”The promotion of closed material cycles is a key element in Coca‑Cola's sustainability strategy. Coca‑Cola is still the largest returnable supplier in Germany. Between 2018 and 2020, the company invested 150 million euros in reusable filling - in new reusable containers, the expansion of a reusable bottle pool and new reusable crates. The measures also include the introduction of the 1-liter returnable glass bottle and the 0.4-liter returnable glass bottle for the products Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Light, Fanta, Sprite and mezzo mix.
* Civey survey on behalf of Coca ‑ Cola: 5,000 people over the age of 16 were surveyed in Germany between August 20 and 24, 2021.
About the study:
On behalf of Coca-Cola and fischerAppelt, the opinion research company Civey surveyed 5000 German Germans aged 16 and over between 08/20/2021 and 08/24/2021. The results are representative. The statistical error of the overall results is around 2.5%. The survey was conducted online. All participants provided data such as age, gender and place of residence and were registered and verified. Civey corrects distortions using multi-level weighting procedures. Additional information on the methodology can be found on Civey.com and in the Civey white paper .