Creating a world without waste is possible. 

At Coca-Cola, we take our role as an environmental steward seriously and it’s ingrained in our DNA to do business the right way — not the easy way.

In 2018, The Coca-Cola Company set a bold and ambitious path forward by launching our World Without Waste initiative. It’s a recognition that the world has a packaging waste problem and we want to be a part of the solution.

Our World Without Waste strategy gives a renewed focus to our entire packaging lifecycle – from how bottles and cans are designed and made, to how they’re recycled and repurposed.

That’s why, as a global company operating in more than 200 markets, we established three fundamental goals.

1. Help collect and recycle a bottle or can for each one we sell by 2030.

In Canada, 77% of beverage containers are collected for recycling, but more work is needed to continue to improve the systems. We are working closely with the beverage industry, our customers and governments across the country to look at ways to increase collection and recycling rates.

In addition, we work with partners in the community to help ensure our packaging doesn’t end up where it doesn’t belong. One example is the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up. For nearly a decade, Coca-Cola has supported this incredible program, a partnership between WWF-Canada and Ocean Wise. Every year thousands of Canadians, including Coca-Cola associates participate in Canada’s largest volunteer-powered, conservation cleanup program, to keep our shorelines free of litter and create awareness of the need to ensure packages don’t end up in the environment.

2. Make our packaging 100% recyclable globally by 2025

To date, approximately 98% of our primary packaging in Canada is recyclable, but there is more work to do.

We are redesigning our packaging to make it better for our planet and our business. We are also leveraging technology to build better bottles for today and tomorrow.

For example, our Simply 2.63L bottle is an award-winning package due to design and technology feats.

Working with Plastikpak, we developed a new technology to change the resin used in this container (#7), making it the first 100% recyclable clear handle ware PET bottle in Canada that is coded as #1 PET, which has the highest economic value in the recycling system.  We also designed a new wash-away adhesive that allows labels to be separated from the PET plastic bottles during the recycling process.

Similarly, our Powerade package was the first of its kind in North America.

Our Powerade bottle went through an engineering re-design to make it 100% recyclable. Through R&D work with our partners, we reduced about 9% of the plastic in the bottle. We also optimized the sport-cap to make it much easier to use and eliminated unwanted materials such as: foil-seals, silicone valves and tamper bands – components that used to go to waste as they were not recyclable.

These are just a few examples of the many ways we are rethinking our package design and are building more sustainable brands. 2020 will continue to be a big year of innovation for Coca-Cola with lots of exciting announcements coming soon. 

3. Use 50% recycled materials in our packaging by 2030

At Coca-Cola, we work closely with local governments, partners and industry to ensure that Canadians are recycling properly and that these materials are finding a second life.

Today, Coca-Cola has a number of bottling partners around the world who are producing bottles made from 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate – commonly known as rPET.

Through a sustainable value chain and closed loop system, used PET bottles are collected, processed into rPET material and reused back into beverage bottles. This is what we call bottle-to-bottle recycling.

Ultimately, our goal is to shift as much of our packaging to recycled content as possible. 

We’re also re-imagining our packaging altogether and delivering our beverages without any packaging at all. The Coca-Cola Freestyle when paired with a reusable ValidFill cup with RFID technology, does not require any new cups or bottles. ValidFill cups are fully recyclable, reusable and made from recycled plastic. 

We are currently piloting this technology at a university in Ottawa.

We’ve made big strides — but we can’t do this alone.

We’re working with local and global partners to find new ways to reduce our carbon footprint and make a better planet for everyone.

Food and beverage packaging are an important part of our modern lives, yet the world has a packaging waste problem, and like many companies that make products we all love, we have a responsibility to help solve it. Together, we can grow the circular economy; if our bottles and cans end up in recycling bins, we will work towards recycling those bottles to make new ones.

By investing in our planet and our packaging, we can help make the world’s packaging waste problem a thing of the past.