All Coca-Cola, Coke Zero and diet Coke in 500ml bottles will now be sold in PlantBottle packaging – more than 200 million bottles in total that will hit the shelves in the UK this year.

The packaging has a lower reliance on non-renewable resources compared to traditional PET plastic bottles and is fully recyclable. The company’s vision is that all its plastic bottles will be made from a combination of plant-based materials and recycled PET plastic by 2020.

Just over half of all Coca-Cola drinks globally are sold in PET plastic bottles and these are traditionally made entirely from petroleum and other non-renewable fossil fuels.

By contrast, the PlantBottle packaging is made from up to 22.5% plant-based material and up to 25% recycled PET plastic. The plant-based component of the new bottle is sourced from bioethanol from sugarcane.

Coca-Cola says it has been working closely with WWF and the Bonsucro organisation to choose sugarcane from plantations in Brazil, sources widely recognised by for their environmental and social performance.

Coca-Cola’s country manager for GB & Ireland, Jon Woods, said: “The PlantBottle package is a bottle we can all feel good about and is a significant step on our journey towards more sustainable packaging. It looks, feels and functions just like a normal plastic bottle, but it helps reduce our reliance on non-renewable resources.”

He added: “We’re already hard at work to evolve the next generation of packaging. We’re especially excited about the potential to develop recyclable plastic from natural, renewable resources like stems, fruit peels and bark, which can be sourced from almost anywhere in the world.

“We’re not there yet as a commercial product, but, working with our research partners, we think we’ll get there in the next three to five years.”

Maxine Perella

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