Coca-Cola has joined a growing roster of brands looking to tackle the world’s plastic waste problem, promising that the equivalent of 100% of its packaging will be collected and recycled by 2030.
The goal is the main focus of the company’s new sustainability strategy ‘World Without Waste’, which it will back with a multi-year investment to make packaging 100% recyclable. Coke CEO James Quincey says the move recognises the role food and beverage companies play in reducing plastic waste globally.
“The world has a packaging problem – and, like all companies, we have a responsibility to help solve it,” explains Quincey. “Through our World Without Waste vision, we are investing in our planet and our packaging to help make this problem a thing of the past.”
Coca-Cola has already begun to work on its main goal of recycling 100% of its bottles. Last year, it launched its first marketing campaign in the UK focused on encouraging consumers to recycle their plastic bottles. And it says it now plans to put its “marketing dollars and skills” behind helping people understand what, how and where to recycle, working with local communities, industry partners and consumers.
There will also be investment in making its packaging 100% recyclable, with a specific aim to make its bottles out of at least 50% recycled plastic by 2030.
“Bottles and cans shouldn’t harm our planet, and a litter-free world is possible,” Quincey says. “Companies like ours must be leaders. Consumers around the world care about our planet, and they want and expect companies to take action. That’s exactly what we’re going to do, and we invite others to join us on this critical journey.”
Coca-Cola is just one of a number of brands to spell out its plans to reduce plastic waste as companies step up to take part of the responsibility for the issue. It follows announcements by both McDonald’s and Evian, which have promised to make their packaging 100% recyclable. Other brands, such as Pret A Manger, Costa and Wagamama have promised to stop using plastic straws, while Iceland has vowed to eradicate plastic from its own brand product packaging in five years.
And Waitrose has today (19 January) also joined the movement, pledging not to sell any own label food in black plastic by the end of the year. It has already cut black plastic use by 65% from its fruit and vegetable packaging. Black plastic is particularly difficult to recycle because the lasers used to sort recycling cannot sense the colour effectively, meaning they are not identified for recycling.
Tor Harris, head of sustainability and responsible sourcing at Waitrose, says: “Tackling the use of plastics across our business is a key priority for us and we have committed that all our packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2025. Our work to eliminate black plastic packaging from our shops sees us taking a step towards accomplishing this.
“As a retailer dedicated to reducing the impact of plastic packaging on the environment, becoming black plastic free across all our own label products is the right thing to do.”