Coca-Cola bottles
Coca-Cola and O-I Glass say glass, an easily recyclable material, needs to be reused as much as possible to secure a sustainable future.

Coca-Cola aims to use 50 percent recycled glass by 2030

O-I Glass and Coca-Cola are expanding an existing relationship to recycle more than 700,000 glass bottles annually.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United has announced its goal of using 50 percent recycled material in its glass bottles by 2030, leveraging a partnership with O-I Glass, headquartered in Perrsyburg, Ohio.

“We previously sent our glass bottles to a local recycler that used the material in fiberglass,” says Corey Tucker, warehouse and logistics manager for Coca-Cola United’s Marietta, Georgia, production center. But now the company will send its recycled glass to O-I’s plant in Danville, Virginia, where it will be remade into glass bottles.

Through the partnership, Coca-Cola United, Birmingham, Alabama, expects to recycle more than 700,000 out-of-date and damaged bottles annually.

Glass is 100 percent and infinitely recyclable, making it an ideal packaging material to support a low-waste, circular economy. Recycled glass is the main ingredient in manufacturing new glass bottles and jars, and the more that’s used in each batch, the more energy is saved and emissions are decreased. O-I is committed to Coca-Cola United’s 10 sustainability goals, which include increasing recycled content to 50% on average by 2030.

O-I’s recycling business relies heavily on finding sources of glass that require recycling, O-I Recycling Systems Development Leader Sammy Holaschutz says.

“We need others in the glass value chain—our customers, other industries and certainly consumers—to help increase glass recycling rates,” Holaschutz says. “The action taken by Coca-Cola United to promote recycling and circularity sets a strong example.”

Coca-Cola United had an existing relationship with O-I, which led to the new partnership, says Coca-Cola United Sustainability Director Tammy Stubbs.

“We started to look at all of our recyclables and where they end up,” she says. “We contacted O-I because they supply our glass bottles, and we learned that they have a team dedicated to increasing glass recycling. The team at O-I is laser-focused on implementing solutions to allow more glass to be recycled and used in glass packaging.”

Collaborations such as this are vital steps in boosting the amount of recycled glass in the manufacturing stream and creating a more sustainable future, the companies say.