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Coca-Cola: Let’s not waste this summer

Amsterdam, 25 July 2019 – Isn’t it nice to drink a cold coke during a hot summer? Coca-Cola sales will increase in summer, but how many of the sold cans and bottles will end up in our environment? If Coca-Cola has its way: zero. The beverage multinational has started the global “World Without Waste” campaign in 2018. Part of this campaign is the retrieval of all packaging worldwide for recycling and an increase of the recycled plastic used in packaging. And to achieve this all, they want to cooperate with local organizations. The plan is amazing as well as ambitious, since we are dealing with 3 million tons of plastic packaging per year. According to the calculations of British newspaper The Guardian this equals 200,000 plastic bottles per minute.

Dutch summer campaign

In the Netherlands this recycling plan has been developed and made part of the largest Coca-Cola campaign of the year: ”Let’s not waste this Summer”. Consumers are told not to buy Coca-Cola if they cannot help the company with recycling the packaging. All consumers should dispose of the packaging in a responsible way. And if you dispose in the right way, and prove it, you could even win a sustainable prize. Would this convince all the people, who have the bad habit of leaving their cans and bottles in the street, not to buy a coke? Of course not. This is a smart marketing campaign presenting Coco-Cola as a sustainable company, while they lay the responsibility of cans and bottles in the environment solely at the consumers’ door.

Three brands 100% recycled plastic

The returned PET bottles are used to make new bottles. This summer, Coca-Cola announced that three brands (Chaudfontaine, Honest and CLACÉAU Smartwater) will be in PET bottles entirely made of recycled plastic in the beginning of 2020. That means a reduction of 900 tons new or ‘virgin’ plastic in Europe every year. The global goal of the World Without Waste campaign is to use at least 50% recycled plastic for all bottles in 2025. To increase the use of recycled plastic in the bottles, a higher percentage of bottles need to be returned. That is why the consumers are urged to separate plastic from other waste. However, even bottles entirely made of recycled plastic can end up in our environment. And that chance of bottles ending up in our environment increases when the amount of bottles sold increases.

Coca-Cola and the deposit-refund system

Coca-Cola has an ambivalent attitude to the introduction of deposit on bottles. With a deposit-refund system you make sure that a high percentage of bottles is returned. You will not get a sustainable prize once but you will get the deposit refunded every time you return a bottle. A couple of years ago, Coca-Cola has stopped its opposition to deposits when governments want to introduce or extend the deposit-refund system. However, the company does not promote deposits as a means of retrieving recyclable packaging. This summer campaign would only be credible if Coca-Cola expressed their support for a deposit-refund system. 


Also read: Coca-cola largest plastic polluter