Estimates suggest that plastic bottle production is slated to grow another 20 percent within the next five years. Obviously, this is not a sustainable growth pattern and, as such, Coca-Cola is taking the initiative to change that.
Of course, this is only the UK chapter of the company, and they are only doing it after Greenpeace put them on notice with a campaign over Coke’s strategy of single-use packaging of plastic bottles.
Still, it is a start.
And that start is just that: a start. For now, Coca-Cola will double the recycled materials found in plastic bottles with the eventual goal to be 100 percent recycled; though nobody at Coca-Cola really knows when that goal could be feasible.
Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) Vice President and general manager GB Leendert den Hollander explains, “Our goal is to work with local and national partners to ensure all of our packaging is recovered and recycled. Our new strategy sets out how we will start work to achieve that.”
He goes on to say, “We have focused on the actions we can take as a business—such as our ability to communicate to consumers on the importance of recycling—as well as the areas where we want to work in close collaboration with others to reduce litter and increase the recovery and recycling of plastic bottles.”
Hollander makes sure to also note that CCEP’s commitment towards doubling its recycled materials efforts will, in fact, have quite a positive impact on supporting Britain’s circular economic model. This is when resources are used and reused—recycled–for as long as possible and then recovered so the “cycle” can continue until the material or resource is no longer usable.
Hollander explains, “Our ambition—and our ability to go further in the future—will require reform of the packaging collection system in Great Britain and we will work with others to champion the changes that are required to ensure all our valuable materials are recovered.”
Indeed, it is an excellent place to start: not just for the company or for Britain, but for the whole of the beverage industry (and all personal consumption industries, to be honest). By instituting a new model—that will initially cost the business more but benefit everyone more in the long run—Coca-Cola will set an example—and a not-too-high bar—for the rest of the industry (and hopefully many others).