a world without waste is possible thanks to the circular economy

The Old Continent generates more than 2.5 million tons of waste per year. An excessive amount, the result of the current "use and throw away" production system, which makes us have to rethink that model, especially in terms of packaging. The solution for the circular economy and the design of new more sustainable packaging; however, it also requires the iron commitment of society as a whole.

The cans, the bottles, as well as other containers are a comfortable and safe option of transporting beverages, but for them to be sustainable they must be properly designed and managed after use. It's about applying the circular economy, where plastic, glass and aluminum – manufactured under ecodesign criteria – can be reused many times instead of being used only once and discarded. But nevertheless, giving containers more than a shelf life is not an easy task since it requires the implication of the whole society.

First, this work begins with the package design: to be 100% recyclable or reusable, which incorporates renewable materials, that contains more recycled material or that is lighter to use the least amount of material possible.

But this circular system also goes through a greater citizen awareness on the importance of reusing and recycling, for a improvement of waste collection and management systems and for the impulse of those scientific investigations and business initiatives that contribute new solutions. As a leader in the beverage industry, Coca-Cola in Spain wants to lead the change and be part of the solution. Therefore apply the principles of circular economy to close the packaging cycle and avoid the generation of waste.

More recycled material in the packaging

Coca-Cola containers in Spain contain more and more recycled materials or organic sources Thus, the bottles are currently made using 25% recycled PET (in 2017 it was 13%) and The objective is that, by 2025, 50% of the PET used will be recycled.

Lighter containers with less environmental footprint

Efforts also focus on lighten containers. The less they weigh, the less resources will be used in its manufacture and the more efficient the transport will be, contributing to reduce CO2 emissions. For example, the bottle Contour refillable glass, the most iconic of the Coca-Cola brand, has gone from 372 grams of its beginnings to the current 245 grams, while increasing its capacity from 200 to 237 ml.

Lead innovation in more sustainable packaging

Likewise, Coca-Cola tries to take the lead in innovation in packaging sustainable through research, such as those carried out at its Research and Development Center in Brussels, and the commitment to groundbreaking technologies.

In this sense, Coca-Cola It is part of DEMETO, a European consortium that works in the development of chemical recycling, which allows the recycling of types of PET that today cannot be recovered for food and beverage packaging. Too support to start-ups as Ioniqa Technologies, which has managed to transform PET waste into virgin material for reuse for food use.

Coca-Cola in Spain: a world without waste is possible thanks to the circular economy

Within this desire for introduce alternatives to traditional packaging in the marketCoca-Cola launched in 2009 ‘PlantBottle’, a type of 100% recyclable bottle made up to 30% of plant-based materials. Precisely, two of Coca-Cola's latest releases in Spain, AdeS and Honest, are marketed in this format. A technology that Coca-Cola now shares with the industry to boost the use of biomaterials.

Collect the equivalent of 100% of the packages sold

It is useless to manufacture more sustainable containers if, after use, they are not recovered and remain in nature as waste. Thus, Coca-Cola has proposed collect and recycle 100% of the equivalent of all the packages sold by 2025, with the collaboration of environmental NGOs and public and private organizations.

Within this commitment, Coca-Cola in Spain launched in 2018 Circular Seas, an ambitious project of cleaning of seas and coasts, citizen awareness and promotion of circular economy, thanks to that every year 80 are cleaned and reserves and seabed throughout Spain and Portugal.

For Coca-Cola, each container, wherever it comes from, has value and life beyond its initial use, but achieving their collection and keeping them out of the environment is everyone's thing No one can do it alone. The challenge is immense, but if companies, governments, NGOs and citizens join forces to solve it together, a world without waste will be possible.