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Coca‑Cola Company: Sustainability & Plastic Waste| Coca‑Cola SA

Coca‑Cola Beverages South Africa has introduced a 2L returnable bottle made of PET plastic. This bottle offers consumers value for money and is also good for the environment.

The rollout of the new packaging is being piloted in the Mandela Bay and Border-Kei districts in the Eastern Cape and is expected to be extended to the rest of the country if the current pilot is successful.

The returnable bottles are made of PET plastic and are labelled with a new paper label, with ‘RETURNABLE’ appearing in green on the front of the bottle. These new returnable bottles can be reused up to 14 times. Thereafter they can be recycled and made into new bottles.

“Through innovation and our infrastructure investment in this packaging line, we are providing consumers with greater value for money, whilst introducing a PET plastic bottle that can be reused,” says Velaphi Ratshefola, Managing Director of CCBSA.

The recommended retail price for the 2L Coca‑Cola Original Taste – Less Sugar beverage is R15, which excludes a R9 deposit. Other brands, like Coca‑Cola No Sugar, Sprite and Fanta, are also available in the new 2L returnable PET plastic bottle at a recommended retail price of R12 excluding the R9 deposit.

“The launch of these returnable PET bottles is one way in which we are investing in innovative and more sustainable packaging,” says Ratshefola. “The new returnable 2L PET plastic bottle also supports The Coca‑Cola Company’s global commitments to address the world’s waste problem.”

Once a bottle is returned to Coca‑Cola Beverages South Africa, it will go on a looped journey to be cleaned to Coca‑Cola’s stringent measures and requirements, then refilled and start its next life-cycle. When the bottle reaches the end of its 14 useable lifecycles, after being returned to Coca‑Cola Beverages South Africa it will be recycled and turned into another PET plastic bottle.

“We’re committed to increasing recycled material in our packaging and ensuring more packaging is collected and recycled,” adds Ratshefola. “The launch of the Returnable PET plastic bottle is another way we can use innovation to unlock the value in waste and support a circular economy in South Africa.”

In 2018 more than 98 000 tonnes of post-consumer PET was collected through the PET Recycling Company (PETCO), which Coca‑Cola supports, and diverted from landfills in South Africa. They were given a second life through recycling, saving 612,000m2 of landfill space.