Coca-Cola India has taken a significant step towards promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility by launching bottles made from 100 percent recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET). This marks a significant milestone in the Indian beverage industry, as it is the first time that any bottle made with 100 percent food-grade rPET has been used for food and beverage products in the country. With this initiative, Coca-Cola India aligns itself with the global vision of creating a ‘World Without Waste’ and reinforces its commitment to promoting a circular economy.
Driving Sustainability and Circular Economy
Enrique Ackermann, Vice President, Technical and Innovation, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, highlighted the driving force behind the launch of 100 percent rPET bottles, "The introduction of rPET bottles in India marks a significant milestone as it is the first time that any bottle made with 100 percent food-grade rPET has been used for food and beverage products in the country. This initiative is in line with achieving the company’s global commitment to the vision of creating a “World Without Waste”. By utilizing 100 percent recycled PET material, Coca-Cola India is actively contributing to the principles of a circular economy."
The significance of using 100 percent rPET for food and beverage packaging goes beyond the initial use of the bottles. The bottles made with food-grade rPET are fully recyclable and can be repurposed into new bottles, thereby reducing the demand for virgin plastic. According to Ackermann, "Using rPET bottles helps in conserving natural resources by reducing the demand for virgin plastic. By utilizing recycled PET material, the need for extracting and processing resources is minimized. This reduction in resource extraction helps preserve valuable natural resources and reduce overall carbon emissions."
Alignment with Coca-Cola India's Sustainability Goals
In addition to conserving natural resources, rPET bottles contribute to a significant reduction in plastic waste. By incorporating recycled plastic material into the production process, rPET bottles divert plastic waste from the larger ecosystem. Ackermann explained, "rPET bottles contribute to a significant reduction in plastic waste. By incorporating recycled plastic material into the production process, rPET bottles divert plastic waste from the larger ecosystem."
The launch of rPET bottles is aligned with Coca-Cola India's sustainability goals and commitments. The company aims to use at least 50 percent recycled content in its packaging by 2030. Ackermann states, “By promoting circular economy and reducing reliance on virgin materials, we also support consumer preferences for eco-friendly packaging solutions in the country.”
Sourcing and Processing of rPET
Coca-Cola India ensures the sourcing and processing of rPET used in these bottles adhere to stringent standards. The rPET bottles are made from food-grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET). As explained by Ackermann rPET bottles are made from food-grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET). When PET bottles are recycled, the plastic is recycled as per the technologies that are approved by US FDA and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and reformed into recycled PET resin which further converts to PET bottles.
Coca-Cola India follows a thorough protocol for quality and food safety to ensure the safety and quality of the 100 percent rPET bottles. Ackermann emphasized, "The Coca-Cola Company adheres to a rigorous protocol for Quality and Food Safety as well as Supplier Guiding Principles. Partners undergo technical due diligence, including site assessments and audits. Multiple trial runs are conducted, with third-party sample testing based on FSSAI guidelines and stringent internal standards."
Scaling up Production and Availability
Coca-Cola India plans to scale up the production and availability of 100 percent rPET bottles in India. The company is committed to its operations in India and has made significant investments to support the expansion. Ackermann stated that India was a key growth market for the Company, and they were very optimistic about the country owing to its great potential and infrastructure development.
The company has ambitious goals for its packaging, aiming to ensure that 100 percent of its packaging is recyclable worldwide by 2025. Additionally, the company strives to incorporate a minimum of 50 percent recycled material into its packaging by 2030.
Ackermann elaborated, "With a steadfast commitment to sustainability, we have set ambitious goals for our packaging to drive positive change. We are actively working towards achieving these goals, which are deeply ingrained in our business operations."
Collaborating with Stakeholders
Coca-Cola India aims to collaborate with other stakeholders to promote the use of rPET in the industry. The company employs a strategic framework of Design, Collect, and Partner to support a circular economy for plastics. Ackermann noted, "The company endeavors to support a circular economy for plastics by connecting all participants in the plastic recycling value chain. We collaborate with various waste management agencies to establish collection infrastructure and improve the waste collection value chain in the country."
Coca-Cola India's launch of bottles made from 100 percent rPET in India is a significant step towards sustainability and environmental responsibility. By embracing a circular economy and reducing reliance on virgin materials, Coca-Cola India demonstrates its commitment to creating a 'World Without Waste' and addressing consumer preferences for eco-friendly packaging solutions.
The company's focus on sourcing, processing, safety, and quality ensures that the 100 percent rPET bottles meet the highest standards. As Coca-Cola India scales up production and collaborates with stakeholders, it paves the way for a more sustainable and responsible future in the Indian beverage industry.