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Coca-Cola develops bottle made from recycled ocean plastics

About 300 sample PET bottles have been produced using 25 per cent recycled marine plastic, retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea and beaches. 


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October 23, 2019 by Canadian Plastics

Beverage giant Coca-Cola Co. has unveiled what it calls the first ever plastic bottle made using marine litter that has been successfully recycled and reused in food and drink packaging.

About 300 sample bottles have been produced using 25 per cent recycled marine plastic, retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea and beaches.

Photo Credit: Coca-Cola Co.

Developed in partnership with Coca-Cola European Partners, the marine plastic bottle has been developed to show what Coca-Cola calls the “transformational potential of revolutionary enhanced recycling technologies,” which can recycle previously used plastics of any quality back to the high-quality needed for food or drinks 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,” the company said in a statement. “This means that lower-grade plastics that were 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.”

Along with Coca-Cola, the partnership involved Ioniqa Technologies, Indorama Ventures, and Mares Circulares. Although enhanced recycling is still in its infancy, the partners produced the sample marine plastic bottle as a 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 streams 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.

According to Bruno van Gompel, technical and supply chain director, Coca-Cola Western Europe, the potential for the technology is huge. “Enhanced recycling technologies are enormously exciting, not just for us but for industry and society at large,” he said. “They accelerate the prospect of a closed-loop economy for plastic, which is why we are investing behind them. As these begin to scale, we will see all kinds of used plastics returned, as good as new, not just once but again and again, diverting waste streams from incineration and landfill.”