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Brief Published: 20 Nov 2019

Beverage Giants Launch Fully Recyclable Plastic Bottles

The new initiative Every Bottle Back – formed by Coca-Cola, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo – aims to develop a closed-loop system for guilt-free plastic by promoting recyclable PET and funding recycling infrastructure and education

Each company involved is implementing its own closed-loop strategy as part of this programme. By 2025, Keurig Dr Pepper will incorporate 30% post-consumer materials in its supply chain, while PepsiCo will use only compostable materials and Coca-Cola will manufacture bottles exclusively from plant-based materials. All bottles will come with reminders to recycle.

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have also joined the New Plastic Economy Global Commitment, an initiative overseen by UK charity Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme – which demands that FMCG companies use exclusively compostable or reusable packaging by 2025 – see Luxe Pack NYC 2019 for more. Projects like Every Bottle Back and New Plastic Economy Global reflect a growing awareness of plastic’s environmental impact, which we unpick in The New Plastics Roadmap.

The companies participating in Every Bottle Back enlisted US non-profit World Wildlife Fund to contribute scientific advice for measuring the industry’s plastic footprint, and forming guidelines to slash its environmental burden. They’re also working with US advocate group Recycling Partnership and sustainably minded American investment firm Closed Loop Partners to boost recycling infrastructure, like funding recycling bins for public places.

The initiative cleverly engages with sustainability sceptics while raising awareness of recycling’s importance. Yet we’ve also noticed a broader plastic backlash that raises the question if Every Bottle Back is too little, too late. As we highlight in our Spotlight Trend Packaging Futures 2019, the types of packaging attracting sustainability accolades both recycle would-be plastic waste, and also reduce overall plastic use. As Coca-Cola was recently identified as a leading plastic polluter, promoting recycling is essential for preserving its reputation among eco-savvy consumers. 

For more on eco-conscious food packaging, read Pizza Hut Reinvents the Pizza Box and KitKat Japan’s Origami Packaging Reduces Plastic. To learn more about sustainable consumers, see Reaching Eco Demographics in our Macro Trend Towards Our Sustainable Future.

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