The Coca-Cola Company recently unveiled its first-ever sample bottles made using recovered and recycled marine plastics, demonstrating that, one day, ocean debris could be used in recycled packaging for food or drinks.
Through a partnership between Ioniqa Technologies, Indorama Ventures, Mares Circulares (Circular Seas) and The Coca-Cola Company, about 300 sample bottles were made using 25 percent recycled marine plastic retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea and beaches. The bottles were designed and developed to show the transformational potential of revolutionary enhanced recycling technologies, which can recycle previously used plastics of any quality back to high-quality plastic that can be used for food or beverage packaging. The sample bottle is the first-ever plastic bottle made using marine plastic that has been successfully recycled for food and drink packaging.
Enhanced recycling technologies use innovative processes that break down the components of plastic and strip out impurities in lower-grade recyclables so they can be rebuilt as good as new. This means that lower grade plastics often destined for incineration or landfill can now be given a new life. It also means more materials are available to make recycled content, reducing the amount of virgin PET needed from fossil fuels, and resulting in a lower carbon footprint.
The marine plastic bottle has been developed as proof of concept for what the technology may achieve in time. In the immediate term, enhanced recycling will be introduced at commercial scale using waste from existing recyclers, including previously unrecyclable plastics and lower-quality recyclables. From 2020, Coca-Cola plans to roll out this enhanced recycled content in some of its bottles.
Coca-Cola has set goals to work toward a World Without Waste, which will include collecting a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030.