How Coca-Cola Embraces Sustainability Through Product Recyclability

By November 26, 2018Sustainability

At Coca-Cola, we are in the community business. We have a passion for giving back to help make our communities stronger, more prosperous, healthier, cleaner, and more hopeful. The Coca-Cola Company is committed to giving back 1% of the prior years’ operating income to support our local communities everywhere we do business.

We support communities in areas where we know we can do the most good and that align with our company’s goals and priorities. This includes environmental sustainability, women’s leadership and youth empowerment and education.

World Without Waste

Food and beverage containers are an important part of people’s modern lives, but we know that there is much more to be done to reduce packaging waste. We are working with partners and investing in our planet and our packaging to make the world’s waste problem a thing of the past.

The Coca Cola Company is committed to sustainability, and one way we keep that sustainability promise is by focusing on the recyclability of our products.

Through our World Without Waste vision, we’ve set an ambitious goal to help collect and recycle the equivalent of a bottle or can for each one we sell by 2030 and to make all of our packaging 100% recyclable by 2025.

We are working to accomplish this industry-first, ambitious goal through 3 main pillars:

  • Design – Aspire to create packaging that is at least 50% recycled material by 2030; continue working to make all consumer packaging 100% recyclable by 2025
  • Collect – Collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of the primary packaging we sell by 2030
  • Partner – Work together to support a healthy, debris-free environment (land & sea)

Design

We design our packaging to be recyclable and have a value as recyclable commodity. Nearly all of our packaging- 99% is fully recyclable. We are working to build better bottles whether through using more recycled content, by using plant-based resins, or by reducing the amount of plastic in each container. By 2030, the Coca-Cola system aims to make bottles with an average of 50% recycled content.

We also have expanded our “package-less” delivery model for beverages through our innovative Freestyle technology, now available in more than 50,000 locations serving 14 million drinks daily. Freestyle is a touchscreen-operated dispenser that uses “micro-dosing” technology to deliver nearly 200 beverage options.

Collect

We are working to collect and recycle the equivalent of a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030. In the U.S., we are working with partners to help ensure recycling programs and infrastructure exist in every community we serve and have invested more than $16 million

in innovative partnerships that bring curbside recycling programs to communities, help educate Americans on where to recycle, and support large-scale recycling infrastructure.

“We believe every package – regardless of where it comes from – has value and life beyond its initial use,” Coca-Cola Company CEO James Quincey says. “If something can be recycled, it should be recycled. So we want to help people everywhere understand how to do their part.”

We will collect material in a cross-sector and scalable way that drives systemic change.

Partnerships

To help tackle existing packaging waste in the U.S., we will continue to work with existing partners outlined above.

For example, since 1995, Coca-Cola has been the lead sponsor of the world’s largest volunteer effort benefiting the marine environment: Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. Over the course of this partnership, Coca-Cola has helped mobilize 20 million people to clean up 220 million pounds of trash from more than 375,000 miles of coastline.

Over the last 10 years, we’ve invested over $16 million in a number of programs including Closed Loop Fund, Recycling Partnership and Keep America Beautiful to help increase access to recycling and provide education.

With only 53% of Americans having convenient, curbside carts today and even less in public spaces, we need to work together to bring recycling to more people. Through these collaborations and others, we’ve helped support the placement of more than 1 million recycling carts and bins.

Whether at a home, college or parks, this has helped improve recycling in more than 1,400 communities. Together, this is helping keep more than 730 million pounds of recyclables out of the environment.

Please click here to learn more, view videos or read CEO James Quincey’s Medium.com op-ed.

Bruce Karas is the Coca-Cola North America VP of Environment & Sustainability

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