- Coca-Cola, as a part of its "World Without Waste" initiative, aims to recycle the equivalent of 100% of its packaging by 2030, the company announced. By 2030, for every bottle or can the company sells globally, it wants to take one back for recycling — including packaging from other companies.
- The company also announced a goal to manufacture bottles with an average 50% recycled content by 2030.
- Coca-Cola is partnering with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy, The Ocean Conservancy, the Trash Free Seas Alliance and World Wildlife Fund to achieve its new recycling goals. The company also announced it would partner with groups at regional and local levels to encourage packaging recycling.
January has been a big month for plastics and packaging recycling goals. British Prime Minister Theresa May said she wants to eliminate avoidable plastic within 25 years; the European Union is looking at bag and plastic packaging fees; Dow announced a new round of funding for its plastics-to-fuel program; Evian aims to make its bottles out of 100% recycled material by 2025; and McDonald's goal is for all of its packaging to come from recycled or certified sources by 2025. Coca-Cola's announcement is just the latest in a growing field.
And the beverage company can already boast significant progress on its packaging goal. In 2016, the company recycled 59.3% of its total packaging (although a slight drop from 2014's 61% recycling rate), with its next goal of recycling 75% of its packaging by 2020.
Coca-Cola's 100% packaging recycling goal isn't new, but it doesn't make its key partnerships any less meaningful — the company has joined with groups that are already taking meaningful action in developing a more circular economy.
The New Plastics Economy, for example, recently awarded $1 million in prize money to groups or individuals working to revolutionize grocery shopping and coffee cups. World Wildlife Fund's Cascading Materials Vision has joined with The Recycling Partnership, Target, The American Chemistry Council and others to promote reusing material rather than constantly going after virgin supply.
Environmental group Greenpeace, however, criticized Coca-Cola for not going far enough. While the group said it welcomes the company's announcement that it's increasing recycled content in its packaging, Greenpeace is urging Coca-Cola to cut down on single-use plastic bottles and invest in alternative delivery methods like self-serve water stations with reusable containers and Freestyle dispensers.