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Coca-Cola India’s Doubleheader of rPET Innovations

The brand owner launches Coca-Cola in 250- and 750-mL recycled PET bottles and creates giant rPET flags for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup.

Rick Lingle, Senior Technical Editor

October 10, 2023

4 Min Read
Men's Cricket World Cup 2023
Image courtesy of Coca-Cola India

After being the first in India to launch a 1-liter bottle made of 100% recycled PET (rPET) for Kinley brand water, Coca-Cola India announced October 4 it is taking another meaningful step toward a circular economy with the launch of Coca-Cola in 250- and 750-mL rPET bottles. These rPET bottles are being manufactured by Coca-Cola bottling partners Moon Beverages Ltd. and SLMG Beverages Ltd.

Two days later during the opening ceremony of the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, Coca-Cola India along with the ICC introduced national flags made from rPET yarn created from post-consumer PET bottles.

One flag was created for each of the 10 nations playing in the tournament. The rPET flags will be used during the national anthem ceremony before each match takes place in the stadiums.

Approximately 11,000 PET bottles were used for creating each national flag and approximately 2,000 bottles were used to create an ICC Unity flag. The flags are manufactured by GoRevise by Ganesha Ecoverse Ltd., which manufactures recycled yarn and garments. A team of 100 workers devoted 25 days and more than 300 hours to make the flags.

Arnab Roy, VP, marketing, Coca-Cola India & southwest Asia, said: "Coca-Cola has a mission to support sustainability efforts as an integral part of all sporting events. Aligned with this mission, we take pride in unveiling national flags made with recycled PET at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023. With these recycled national and ICC Unity flags we are dedicated to advancing the principles of a circular economy."

"Recycle Me Again” and rebottling PET.

The rPET bottles expansion showcases Coca-Cola India's journey toward a sustainable and greener future for all. The bottles made from 100% food-grade rPET (excluding caps and labels) have an on-pack call to action — "Recycle Me Again" — and will also drive consumer awareness with "100% recycled PET bottle" displayed on the pack.

Sanjeev Agarwal, Chairman, Moon Beverages Ltd. (part of MMG Group), commended the rPET launch, stating: "PET plastic bottles have value beyond their first life. Our new bottles made with food-grade rPET are recyclable and can become another bottle giving it another life. Recycled PET is a big move in the right direction to embrace plastic circularity in India."

The plastic is recycled as per the technologies approved by the US FDA and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for food-grade recycled material and repurposed into new PET bottles, reducing the need for virgin plastic.

"We produced the first bottle of Coca-Cola in India and are proud to be amongst the first bottlers to produce the rPET variant,” said Paritosh Ladhani, managing director, SLMG Beverages Ltd. “We are committed to sustainability, and SLMG is enthused to drive meaningful change and build a sustainable future."

The Coca–Cola Co. now offers 100% rPET bottles in more than 40 markets, bringing it closer to its World Without Waste goal of making bottles with 50% recycled content by 2030. Announced in 2018, the sustainable packaging platform also includes a goal to collect and recycle the equivalent of a bottle or can for every one the company sells globally by 2030, and to make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025.

"Return and Recycle" and proprietary ASSP technology initiatives.

Enrique Ackermann, VP, technical and innovation, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said, “We seek to drive a circular economy for our packaging in order to reduce waste and carbon emissions. We're working to increase recycled content in our packaging, expand our use of refillable bottles, and to collect packaging for recycling through our World Without Waste initiative. We also do research for new solutions for packaging. This expansion by Moon Beverages and SLMG Beverages underscores Coca-Cola India's steadfast commitment to sustainability and its dedication to forging a more sustainable future."

Coca-Cola is making it convenient for consumers to return empty PET bottles by recycling them at conveniently placed drop-off points or Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs).

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola India launched a “Return and Recycle” initiative with Zepto that focuses on gathering PET bottles directly from consumers. This also helps in establishing an organized process of collecting PET bottles with 100% traceability. Specifically for India, Coca-Cola introduced proprietary Affordable Small Sparkling Pack (ASSP) technology for 250-mL PET bottles. ASSP is used to reduce plastic usage in the production of PET bottles for sparkling products by up to 40%

In December 2022, Coca-Cola Bangladesh launched 100% rPET bottles, making it the first market in Southwest Asia to introduce 1-liter bottles of Kinley water.

About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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