The planet has a plastic problem. By even the most conservative estimates, we are depositing around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste into our oceans every year, killing wildlife and polluting the natural world in the process. The problem is now so pronounced that even companies that might once have been willing to turn a blind eye are now focusing on the issue with an increasing sense of alarm. Unless radical change is adopted, the future looks bleak. However, probably because of the seriousness of the situation, some businesses have decided to try doing things differently.
At the start of the month, the Coca Cola company unveiled its latest innovation - a plastic bottle made using recovered and recycled marine plastics. Featuring materials retrieved from Mediterranean beaches, the new design comes complete with its own distinctive blue label, and was described as “the first ever plastic bottle made using marine plastic that has been successfully recycled for use in food and drink packaging” by The Telegraph newspaper.
As part of a press release heralding the announcement, President for Coca-Cola Western Europe, Tim Brett, said:
“Too many of the world’s finite resources are currently discarded as waste. We know we need to do more to correct this. The targets we have set out today are ambitious and rightly so. There is a valuable role for packaging, but it must always be collected, recycled and reused.
Our aim, working in partnership, is to see the term “single-use plastic” become redundant, both in our business and beyond, as all of our plastic – and indeed all of our packaging – is delivered within a closed loop”.
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This was echoed by the company’s Technical and Supply Chain Director, Bruno Van Gompel, who added:
“This bottle is testament to what can be achieved, through partnership and investment in revolutionary new technologies. In bringing together partners from across our supply chain, from a community clean up partnership in Spain and Portugal to an investment in technological innovation in the Netherlands, we have been able, for the first time, to bring damaged marine plastic back to food-grade material to make new bottles.”
Though the bottles are not yet made from 100% recycled materials, the move is certainly a step in the right direction. Environmental activists everywhere can at least feel slightly more positive that one of the food and drink industry’s biggest plastic polluters seems to be open to change.