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Waste watchers – our contribution to sustainability

ENVIRONMENT
13.11.2019
6 MIN

Our approach to sustainability underpins our performance as a business and we are constantly looking for ways to improve where we know we can make a difference.

A 600mL Coca-Cola bottle with the words, "100% Recycled. 100% Recyclable."

Our approach to sustainability underpins our performance as a business and we are constantly looking for ways to improve where we know we can make a difference. One of those areas is the environment.

We have an ambitious goal to achieve packaging neutrality by 2030 – a goal which is aligned with The Coca-Cola Company’s vision of a World Without Waste. We share the understanding that every package has value and life beyond its initial use and should be collected and recycled into another package or other beneficial use.

We are on track to achieve this goal with several important milestones taking place this year.

Part of that goal is to continue to design our packaging better, light-weighting where possible and replacing virgin materials (that is, new plastic and paper products) with recycled content.

Recycled plastic

Using recycled plastic and participating in the plastic circular economy is an obvious way to reduce virgin plastic usage. We firmly believe that bottles deserve to be bottles again and our team has invested to help make it a reality.

Earlier this year, we announced with Coca-Cola Australia that 70 per cent of our plastic bottles made in Australia will be made from 100 percent recycled plastic by 2020. This includes all small packages (600ml and under) and some of the region’s favourite brands including Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Mount Franklin and Pump 750ml. This change alone eliminates an estimated 10,000 tonnes of virgin plastic in Australia.  This is in addition to the 6,000 tonnes we were already saving each year because some of our products, such as Mount Franklin 600ml, were already being made using recycled plastic bottles.

We’ve also reviewed the product we purchase and supply to customers in Australia. In January 2019, we stopped distributing plastic straws and stirrers and replaced them with fully recyclable and biodegradable, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) accredited paper straws.

By the end of 2019 New Zealand will also be reaching their own recycled plastic target. Customers choosing beverages in plastic bottles smaller than 1 litre, and water bottles across all sizes can rest assured that those options are made from 100% recycled plastic and helping avoid around 2,900 tonnes of new plastic.

Turning bottles into bottles again

We understand that with an increase in the use of recycled plastic bottles comes an increase in demand for recycling and that a well-run, cost-effective container deposit scheme (CDS) is an effective way to manage materials. 

How do we know? Because we’ve run the South Australian container deposit scheme for over 40 years through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Statewide Recycling.

We’re also the co-ordinator for all the current schemes in operation in Australia and welcome the New Zealand Government’s announcement that work has begun to develop a beverage Container Return Scheme (CRS) for the country.

Waste reduction

While a CDS is targeted at reducing a large waste problem, we believe that no matter how big or small the waste, waste reduction is worth exploring.

At our Eastern Creek facility, we’ve installed electricity sub-meters to prevent over-drying of resin (plastic), saving 50 tonnes of per year and in Indonesia we opened a new high-tech bottling line which produces lightweight plastic bottles coated with a thin layer of glass for durability, reducing plastics by 2,000 tonnes per year. Both were complex goals, achieved thanks to our dedicated team.

At Coca-Cola Place in North Sydney we introduced our very own CDS with proceeds supporting Eco Barge and we’ll be trialling a new waste management process addressing coffee cups recycling and organics by the end of the year.

Looking forward

So, if you’ve been keeping track, we’re reducing our plastics use by approximately 20,900 tonnes or about twice the weight of The Eiffel Tower. That’s no small achievement and only possible because we have a team of experts who want to make a difference at Coca-Cola Amatil and beyond.

By the time 2025 arrives, we are working towards 100 per cent of Coca-Cola Amatil packaging being recyclable, including bottles, cans, plastic wrap, glass and cardboard. We’ve taken important steps this year, but still have work to do.

You can learn more about the work we’re doing in our Sustainability Report.

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