American nonalcoholic beverages giant Coca-Cola has taken huge steps towards reducing its carbon footprint and undoing the damage caused by generations of plastic waste by transforming plastic waste into new bottles that are due to be made commercially available from 2020.
“Breakthrough Technology” To Revolutionise Bottle Manufacturing
Announcing the news in early October, the global drinks manufacturer and retailer revealed a sample of 300 prototype bottles made from the ocean plastic waste that has been retrieved fro the Mediterranean. The companies hopes are to commence a commercial production line in 2020 before increasing their presence within the supply chain over the coming years.
Coca-Cola has cited “breakthrough technology” as the chief reason for being able to transform the waste into safe and usable bottles. The procedures turn low-quality marine waste plastics into high-quality plastics that can subsequently become new bottles that match the shape and attributes of other plastic bottles within the Coca-Cola Company’s range.
The upcycling processes occur thanks to depolymerisation, a treatment that allows low-quality plastics to be broken down and stripped of their impurities before being reformed as new products. The newly formed items become high-quality polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) plastics that are suitable for bottles and other food packaging materials.
Coca-Cola’s prototypes signal the first ever plastic bottles to be manufactured from low-quality plastics that have been found in marine bodies of water. Until now, non-transparent and coloured plastics with the lower grade quality could not be upcycled and repurposed. The technological breakthrough has changed that, and could soon see those evolutions gain a widespread appeal.
Coca-Cola Confirms Excitement Surrounding The New Development
Coca-Cola has proudly suggested that the breakthrough tech behind the new initiative could change the face of packaging as we know it. Cocoa-Cola Western Europe’s president Tim Brett stated: "Too many of the world’s finite resources are currently discarded as waste. We know we need to do more to correct this. The targets we have set out today are ambitious and rightly so. There is a valuable role for packaging, but it must always be collected, recycled and reused.
“Our aim, working in partnership, is to see the term “single-use plastic” become redundant, both in our business and beyond, as all of our plastic – and indeed all of our packaging - is delivered within a closed loop".
While the initiative primarily focuses on the Coca-Cola brand, it is believed that production of bottles from upcycling low-quality marine waste plastics could extend to other beverages under the Coca-Cola Company umbrella.
Given the volume of low-quality plastic waste currently in the oceans and, crucially, the severity of damage it causes, Coca-Cola’s development could be one of the most significant steps ever seen in the war against plastic waste. When supported further developments that the drinks brand has implemented in recent times, they have truly become one of the key figureheads in the bid for greener manufacturing processes.
The future of plastic upcycling and bottle manufacturing is looking better than it has for years.