Coca-Cola debuts 2L returnable PET plastic bottles in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA – In an effort to cut down on plastic waste, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has introduced a 2L returnable bottle made of PET plastic that can be reused up to 14 times. Thereafter they can be recycled and made into new bottles.

The returnable bottles are made of PET plastic and are labelled with a new paper label, with ‘RETURNABLE’ appearing in green on the front of the bottle.

Once a bottle is returned to Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa, it will go on a looped journey to be cleaned to Coca-Cola’s stringent measures and requirements, then refilled and start its next life-cycle.

When the bottle reaches the end of its 14 useable lifecycles, after being returned to Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa it will be recycled and turned into another PET plastic bottle.

The rollout is being piloted in the Mandela Bay and Border-Kei districts in the Eastern Cape and, if successful, is expected to be rolled out to the rest of the country.

The recommended retail price for the 2L Coca-Cola Original Taste – Less Sugar beverage is R15, which excludes a R9 deposit.

Other brands, like Coca-Cola No Sugar, Sprite and Fanta, are also available in the new 2L returnable PET plastic bottle at a recommended retail price of R12 excluding the R9 deposit.

“Through innovation and our infrastructure investment in this packaging line, we are providing consumers with greater value for money, whilst introducing a PET plastic bottle that can be reused,” says Velaphi Ratshefola, managing director of CCBSA.

In line with its World Without Waste campaign, The Coca-Cola Company is accelerating the collection and recycling of PET plastic bottles across Southern and East Africa.

“The launch of these returnable PET bottles is one way in which we are investing in innovative and more sustainable packaging. The new returnable 2L PET plastic bottle also supports The Coca-Cola Company’s global commitments to address the world’s waste problem,” said Ratshefola.

“We’re committed to increasing recycled material in our packaging and ensuring more packaging is collected and recycled. The launch of the Returnable PET plastic bottle is another way we can use innovation to unlock the value in waste and support a circular economy in South Africa,” he added.

Coca-Cola Africa is also one of the founding members of the South African (SA) Plastic Pact, a collaborative platform aimed to tackle plastic waste and pollution in the country that was launched on 30th of January 2020.

The pact developed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) in partnership with the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) and the UK’s WRAP will develop the South African Plastics Pact roadmap for 2025 towards collective action in the local market, with annual public progress reporting.

By 2025, all members commit to take action on problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models.

In addition to that, they aim that 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable while 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled and 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

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