Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is expanding the roll-out of its returnable 2 ℓ polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles across northern Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
This follows the successful roll-out of these bottles in the Eastern Cape as a pilot project in February.
CCBSA MD Velaphi Ratshefola says the consumer response to the new returnable PET bottles has been overwhelmingly positive. “We have seen customers in the Eastern Cape switching over to buying the returnable bottle and returning them after consumption.”
Once a bottle is returned to CCBSA, it will go on a looped journey to be cleaned to Coca-Cola’s stringent measures and requirements, then refilled to start its next lifecycle.
When the bottle reaches the end of its useable lifecycle, it joins the recycling value chain and is repurposed into another PET product.
The returnable PET bottles are identifiable by a paper label, with “returnable” printed in green on the front of the bottle.
The roll-out to more provinces constitutes a significant investment by CCBSA in the new packaging line to ensure the bottles comply with global standards for design, hygiene and safety for PET packaging.
CCBSA will continue to identify geographies in the rest of the country for expansion over a five-year period.
Returnable PET is part of The Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste vision that aims to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle and can that it sells globally by 2030.
This focuses on the entire packaging value chain, from how bottles and cans are designed and made, to how they are collected, recycled and reused later.
According to the PET Recycling Company, 62% of PET bottles were collected after use and recycled in South Africa last year.
The Coca-Cola system in South Africa currently uses an average of 8% recycled content in its plastic bottles in South Africa - the more bottles that are collected and recycled, the more recycled content the company can use in its bottles.