Future Coca‑Cola bottles can be made of recycled sea waste and paper

Coca‑Cola joins the innovation community of Paboco paper bottle manufacturer as a founder

Coca‑Cola invests a lot of resources into the development of sustainable packaging solutions. The company announced World Without Waste strategy last year and now it joins a pioneering community of companies in cooperation with the Danish Paboco paper bottle manufacturer start-up. Paboco wants to produce a completely bio-based and recyclable paper bottle for the first time in the world, which could serve as packaging for carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, beauty products and other everyday consumer products. Meanwhile, Coca‑Cola revealed innovation of a bottle made of recycled sea waste as a pilot, experimental project.

Coca‑Cola announced its World Without Waste strategy in 2018 according to which the company pledged, among others, to transform all its packaging materials into fully recyclable ones by 2025 and recycle as much packaging material as it uses by 2030. Focusing on breakthrough innovations in the field of packaging technologies was fully in line with these efforts. Therefore, as a founder member of the recently launched Paboco Pioneer Community, Coca‑Cola joined forces with leading professionals of material science, design and technology in order to improve sustainability of packaging industry by developing sustainable paper bottles. Together with other members of the community, Coca‑Cola helps the paper bottle concept get over technical obstacles and thus enabling paper bottles to be manufactured and used in large-scale by sharing its R&D experience and know-how.

For now, the first-generation paper bottle has recycled paper in its external layer to lend solidity to its structure. The internal coating is attached to this in a manner that allows for the separation of the two layers and thus recycling. The next step of the development of this technology is working out the process for large-scale manufacturing, and to create an all-round bottle with a bio-based coating inside made of recyclable paper fibers, so that even if the bottle ended up in nature, it would decompose without environmental risk.

As for recycling, 300 pieces of sample bottle have already been made to demonstrate that sea waste can once be reused and recycled as new packaging. These bottles made as an experiment and not to be marketed for the time being contain 25 percent recycled plastic collected from the Mediterranean Sea and on its seashore. The new chemical recycling technology develop jointly by Ioniqa Technologies, Indorama Ventures, Mares Circulares and Coca‑Cola has proved in practice that it is possible to produce bottles from sea waste, even from low quality or tinted plastics which were previously considered unsuitable for recycling.

The samples produced are the first plastic bottles in the world which were recycled by the use of sea waste. This gives evidence for the potential advanced recycling technologies can offer: a new chance for the plastics intended to be burnt or disposed in landfills to revive – and thus reducing negative environmental impact. Coca‑Cola plans to apply this solution when producing many of its bottles as of 2020.

Protecting natural waters, collecting and recycling plastic waste are of high priority for Coca‑Cola in Hungary too. Together with the General Directorate for Water Management and Plastic Cup, the company announced that the global foundation of Coca‑Cola would help cleaning Lake Tisza and the upper section of the river Tisza by providing a financial support of HUF 73 million and its employees’ volunteering work. This is the Zero Waste Tisza project which aims to collect and recycle at least 80 tonnes of plastic waste within two years.

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