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Coca-Cola insists recyclable bottles are only single-use ‘if thrown away’

Coca-Cola has defended its assertion that plastic bottles are only single-use ‘if they are thrown away’.

Reacting to criticism from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other NGOs, the soft drinks giant’s argument is that its bottles are “100% recyclable” so should not be treated as single-use.

The underlying issue is that a huge amount of plastic bottles, from various brands, are not recycled due to a comobuination of the materials used, the collection system, the recycling infrastructure, and not least because of littering.

“We think it’s important that people understand these bottles can be recycled – which isn’t the case with all plastic packaging – so that they do end up in the recycling bin and not general waste,” a Coca-Cola spokesperson told Packaging News.

“The more PET bottles recovered and recycled, the more recycled content we can put back in our bottles – reducing our use of virgin plastic and giving that material more than one life.”

The spokesperson added that Coca-Cola supports the introduction of a ‘well-designed’ deposit return scheme which will help get more bottles back. “But in the meantime this campaign was one of the ways we’re trying to increase recycling rates for our bottles.”

The NGOs complained to WRAP that Coca-Cola’s advertising campaign disrupts consumer understanding, and asked it to “protect the accepted definition of the term [of the UK Plastic Pact’s] ‘single-use’ as well as holding members to account on its goal to eliminate single-use packaging in five years”.

The letter to WRAP added: “We believe Coca-Cola are undermining WRAP’s important work on eliminating problematic plastic – work that relies on commonly held definitions of single-use.”


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