coke rpet bottles
Coca-Cola in Western Europe is now using 100 percent rPET bottles in three nations.
Image provided by Coca-Cola in Western Europe.

Coca-Cola moves to 100 percent rPET in Netherlands, Norway

Company confirms its transition to 100 percent rPET in two nations; cites deposit-return systems as “key enabler.”

September 8, 2020

Coca-Cola in Western Europe says it has completed a transition from using virgin resin-based plastic to using plastic bottles made from 100 percent recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) in the Netherlands and Norway.

The beverage maker says the two nations join Sweden, which completed the switch in December 2019, in being able to sell products such as Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta in rPET bottles. A representative of Coca-Cola in Western Europe credits deposit-return systems in these nations as being a critical link to guarantee feedstock to produce rPET.

“A key enabler for Coca-Cola’s switch to 100 percent recycled plastic material in the Netherlands and Norway is the rapidly expanding and effective deposit-return schemes operational in both countries,” states Coca-Cola in Western Europe regarding the completed transition. Such systems, adds the firm, will play a “vital role” in the company’s “100 percent rPET vision.”

Comments Joe Franses, vice president of sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners, “Crucially, this announcement provides a compelling case for the role that deposit-return schemes can play in the creation of local circular economies for beverage packaging. Markets with well-designed [systems] such as those in Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway not only have high collection rates but also have the capacity to collect a higher grade of material with less contamination.”

Continues Franses, “Coca-Cola in Western Europe is a firm supporter of the implementation of well-designed deposit-return schemes across Europe, recognizing the role they can play as part of local, closed-loop recycling system. We also remain committed to supporting innovative packaging and recycling technologies to help us to reach our target of 50 percent recycled content across all our plastic bottles by 2023.”

As part of a joint Sustainability Action Plan called This is Forward, Coca-Cola Co. in Western Europe and its primary bottler Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) have pledged that by 2025, Coca-Cola will: 1) collect a can or bottle for each one it sells; 2) ensure that all its packaging is 100 percent recyclable; and 3) by 2023 will ensure that at least 50 percent of the content of its PET bottles will come from recycled content, moving toward an “ambition to use zero virgin oil-based PET in its PET bottles within a decade.”

In another effort to phase out a type of packaging that generally goes unrecycled, bottler CCEP introduced a paperboard CanCollar made in cooperation with WestRock.