The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, announced that Coca-Cola Trademark brands (Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Flavors) will debut a 13.2-ounce bottle made from 100 percent recycled PET (rPET) plastic this month in California, Florida and select states in the Northeast, with other sparkling beverage brands following this summer.

“Challenges around plastic packaging waste and recycling continue to be top of mind for our consumers, customers and our system,” said Alpa Sutaria, vice president and general manager of sustainability for the North America Operating Unit, in a statement. “Introducing 100 percent recycled PET bottles is a big proof point of how recycling can help create a circular economy.”

The new 13.2-ounce bottle ― the first-ever Coca-Cola package made from 100 percent rPET in the United States ― uses less plastic and offers a convenient, sippable portion size, the company says.

“On-the-go consumers have been telling us they want an option like this, because it’s just the right amount for the ‘snacking’ occasion,” said Tammy Lee, brand manager for Coca-Cola Trademark. “We believe this innovation delivers the double benefit of convenience and sustainability.”

Coca-Cola North America’s rPET innovations spans the portfolio and includes multiple brands and packaging sizes:

  • Coca-Cola trademark brands will roll out 20-ounce bottles made with 100 percent rPET in California, New York and Texas starting this month.
  • DASANI will launch 20-oz. 100 percent rPET bottles in New York, California and Texas in March.
  • smartwater will launch 20-ounce 100 percent rPET bottles in New York and California in July.
  • Sprite will launch a 13.2-ounce 100 percent rPET clear bottle in the Northeast, California and Florida this month. All Sprite packaging will transition to clear packaging, which is easier to be recycled and remade into new bottles, by the end of 2022.

Combined, these innovations represent a 20 percent reduction in the company’s use of new plastic across its North American portfolio compared with 2018, the company says. They will collectively reduce 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually in the United States ― the equivalent of taking 2,120 cars off the road for one year ― based on internal company tools and analyses, it adds.

The Coca-Cola Co. now offers 100 percent rPET bottles in more than 25 markets, bringing it closer to its World Without Waste goal of making bottles with 50 percent recycled content by 2030, according to the company. 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 percent of its packaging recyclable by 2025.

More than 94 percent of the company’s North American packaging is currently recyclable, it says.

“This marks a major milestone in a large and complex market,” Sutaria said. “While we still have a lot of work to do to reduce plastic waste, by educating consumers about recycling and the potential for plastic bottles to become new plastic bottles, we see this as a big move in the right direction.”

To build awareness and encourage action, all 100 percent rPET package labels will include “Recycle Me Again” messaging. Four different areas on the packaging will educate people about recycling. A primary goal of the “Endlessly Refreshing” campaign ― which also will include outdoor, radio, in-store and social/digital communications, plus touch-free experiential activations ― is to boost recycling rates so rPET bottles can be used again and again to create raw material for new bottles, supporting closed-loop recycling systems and a circular economy, according to the company.

“Our packaging is our biggest, most visible billboard,” Sutaria said. “We’re using the power of our brands, leading with Coca-Cola, to educate, inspire and advance our sustainability priorities.”