Coca-Cola has announced that all of its 500-milliliter sparkling beverage bottles sold in Canada will be made with 100% recycled plastic by early 2024.
The bottles are made without any virgin PET plastic, aside from caps and labels, therefore contributing to a circular economy of plastic packaging. All bottles have a “Recycle Again” message on their labels, encouraging continued recycling–once bottles are collected, they are cleaned, sorted, and ground into raw material used to make new bottles.
“We hope that transitioning our 500 mL sparkling portfolio to 100% recycled plastic will increase the amount of high-quality, food-grade, recycled plastic available in Canada and, ultimately, enable us to offer more of our brands in this sustainable format,” said Kurt Ritter, vice president and general manager of sustainability for Coca-Cola North America.
New recycled bottles will be produced by Coke Canada Bottling, an independent, family-owned bottler, in multiple locations throughout the country.
Coca-Cola’s Plastic Waste Reduction Goals
Cocla-Cola’s plastic waste reduction goals are outlined in its World Without Waste initiative, which includes targets to make all Coca-Cola packaging recyclable by 2025, use 50% recycled materials for packaging by 2030, and have at least 25% of beverages sold in refillable or returnable packaging by 2030.
The company has taken additional steps in recent months towards reducing its plastic footprint, including Coca-Cola India’s expansion of its 100% recycled PET bottles for its Kinley bottled water. In partnership with eight bottling partners, Coca-Cola also created a $137.7 million venture capital fund for sustainability investment earlier this year. Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste goals are expected to save 7.6 million pounds of new plastic in 2024 while reducing about 7,000 metric tons of carbon emissions each year.
Many governments and world leaders are working to address the growing issue of plastic waste. The UN created a resolution to end plastic pollution in 2022, and some governments have enforced bans on the use of certain plastics. The economic costs of plastic pollution range from about $300 to $600 billion each year according to UNEP, so recycling measures and plastic alternatives are found to benefit the economy as well as the environment.
Canada recently released its Single-Use Plastic Prohibition Regulations, which prohibits the manufacturing, import, and sale of single-use plastic checkout bags, cutlery, food service ware, ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws. The Government of Canada maintains a target of zero plastic waste by 2030, accompanied by emissions reductions.