Following the announcement last December that Coca-Cola in Sweden would become the first market to move to 100 percent rPET, Coca-Cola in the Netherlands has announced that from October 2020 it will transition all its locally produced small plastic bottles to 100 percent rPET, including brands such as Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta. Large plastic bottles will follow in 2021, making it the second market to transition its locally produced portfolio to 100 percent rPET.
The switch to 100 percent rPET in the Netherlands will eliminate the use of more than 10,000 tonnes of new virgin oil-based plastic, amounting to a 21 percent reduction in the carbon footprint of its plastic bottles per year compared to the rPET level before the transition, when the portfolio in the Netherlands already consisted of more than 50 percent recycled PET.
Additionally, during the first half of 2021, Coca-Cola in Norway will transition to 100 percent rPET for all plastic bottles that it produces locally. According to the press release, this transition will remove around 4,300 tonnes of new virgin oil-based plastic a year, and will deliver a 28 percent reduction in the carbon footprint of its plastic bottles per year compared with the rPET level before the switch when the portfolio in Norway was approximately 25 percent rPET.
Coca-Cola in the Netherlands and in Norway will be the first companies in their respective countries to move their entire portfolio of locally produced plastic bottles to 100 percent rPET. This move supports the company’s ambition in Western Europe to accelerate towards the use of 100 percent rPET and the elimination of new virgin oil-based PET in all of its bottles within the next decade. This will contribute to removing a total of over 200,000 tonnes of new virgin, oil-based PET from its packaging portfolio a year as Coca-Cola in Western Europe transitions to local circular economies for PET packaging.
A key enabler for this switch to 100 percent recycled plastic material in the Netherlands and Norway is the rapidly expanding and effective Deposit Return Schemes operational in both countries. Coca-Cola in Western Europe recognises the vital role that well-designed Deposit Return Schemes will play in its 100% rPET vision.
“This announcement that Coca-Cola European Partners Netherlands and Coca-Cola European Partners Norway are making the switch to 100 percent rPET marks a vitally important step forwards on our journey to eliminating new virgin oil-based plastic across all our plastic bottles within a decade. Crucially, this announcement provides a compelling case for the role that Deposit Return Schemes can play in the creation of local circular economies for beverage packaging. Markets with well-designed DRS such as those in Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway not only have high collection rates but also have the capacity to collect a higher grade of material with less contamination,” said Joe Franses, Vice President Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners.