About 300 sample bottles have been produced by the business, using 25% material recovered from the Mediterranean Sea and beaches. It is reportedly the first bottle of its kind for food and drink packaging.
Developed in partnership with Ioniqa Technologies, Indorama Ventures and Mares Circulares, the technology used to produce the bottles can break down the components of plastic and strip out impurities in lower-grade recyclables.
It means they can be rebuilt “as good as new” and avoid the need to send them for incineration or to landfill.
Proof of concept
Coca-Cola said the sample bottles were a proof of concept of what the technology might be able to achieve in time, reducing the amount of virgin polyethylene terephthalate needed from fossil fuels and resulting in a lower carbon footprint.
Commenting on the potential of the technology, Coca-Cola Western Europe technical and supply chain director Bruno van Gompel said: “Enhanced recycling technologies are enormously exciting, not just for us but for industry and society at large. They accelerate the prospect of a closed-loop economy for plastic, which is why we are investing behind them.
“As these begin to scale, we will see all kinds of used plastics returned, as good as new, not just once but again and again, diverting waste streams from incineration and landfill.”
Rollout in 2020
In the immediate term, enhanced recycling will be introduced at commercial scale using waste streams from existing recyclers, including previously unrecyclable plastics and lower-quality recyclables.
From 2020, Coca-Cola European Partners and Coca-Cola in Western Europe plans to roll out this enhanced recycled content in some of its bottles.
Tonnis Hooghoudt, chief executive of Ioniqa Technologies, added: “The impact of enhanced recycling will be felt on a global scale – by working with Coca-Cola and Indorama to produce this bottle, we aim to show what this technology can deliver.
“Our new plant is now operational and we are bringing this technology to scale. In doing so, we aim to eliminate the concept of single-use plastic and plastic waste altogether.”