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Climate Change»New Coca-Cola Bottles with Environmental Benefits

»Monday, May 18,2009

The Coca-Cola Corporation has announced details of a newly-developed environmentally friendly plastic bottle for its drinks. Through incorporating small quantities of molasses and sugar cane, the new Coke bottle effectively sets a new standard in terms of the creation of food packaging with environmental benefits.

Trials of the new bottle will initially be restricted to the US and to a limited number of brands, including Dasani water.  Next year, they will be expanded so as to take in vitaminwater, too.

As far as the Chief Executive of Cola-Cola, Muhtar Kent, is concerned, the new bottle represents a significant breakthrough that, “over the next 10 years...will transform the whole concept of recycling.”

Bottle Recycling Process

Standard modern-day plastic bottles are manufactured out of a resin called PET (polyethylene terephthalate).  While fully recyclable, the bottle recycling process involved with this resin is costly and not that straightforward, while unrecycled PET bottles take decades to break down naturally.

Coca-Cola explained that as much as 30 per cent of its new bottle, dubbed the “plantbottle”, would be comprised of a material developed out of molasses and sugar cane.  With a 30/70 per cent organic/PEP content, the new bottles could potentially reduce the cost of bottle recycling, and make it easier.

Across the bottled drinks spectrum, Coca-Cola produces more bottles than almost anyone else.  Overall, around 1,000,000,000 PET bottles are drunk around the world every seven days (not just Coke), but less than 25 per cent are recycled, US organisation the Container Recycling Institute says. 

Globally, a number of prominent food and drinks manufacturers are now factoring environmentally friendly measures into their products.  Their directive is, in part, based on Wal-Mart’s recent introduction of standards, through which suppliers are graded on the extent to which they limit packaging and reduce associated waste.

Coca-Cola’s Carbon Footprint

Earlier this year, information on Coca-Cola’s carbon footprint was made public.  Among the data provided were facts on the impact of packaging which, it said, was responsible for up to 70 per cent of its carbon footprint.  It added, however, how drawing on recycled materials could lower this percentage significantly.

Coca-Cola aside, similar “plantbottle” initiatives are also being carried out by competitors like Nestle and the Pepsi Corporation.

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