Packaging and recycling
Packaging plays a vital role in delivering our beverages safely to customers and consumers. Once the beverage inside has been consumed, however, the package can become either valuable material for recycling or recovery in heat capture incineration plants – or waste, ending up in landfill.
We are working to reduce the environmental impacts of our packaging at every stage of its lifecycle. Our integrated approach includes:
Ultimately, we aim to close the recycling loop: turning used packaging into new containers. The bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Austria that Coca-Cola Hellenic helped set up, for example, now provides the Company with a high-quality and cost-effective supply of recycled material to make into new bottles.
In a complex technical process, PET bottles are processed into a high-quality granulate, which is used for the production of new bottles. Together with leading Austrian companies from the beverage sector, Coca-cola Hellenic founded PET to PET Recycling Österreich GmbH to improve the efficiency of recycling.
In addition to minimizing waste from our beverage packaging, we are also reducing production waste from our bottling plants.
Minimizing the amount of packaging we use is one of the most significant ways that we can reduce its environmental impact. In addition to using less material, this helps to reduce the carbon footprint of packaging throughout its lifecycle: from manufacture to transportation to disposal or recycling.
Our PET bottles are among the lightest in the marketplace - they are a third lighter than their predecessors. The Ultra-Glass bottle, which uses a third less glass, is now used in Austria and 16 other countries in which Coca-Cola Hellenic operates.
Increasing recycled content
Our beverage containers consist mostly of recyclable materials: PET plastic, aluminum, steel and glass. Since these are among the most widely recycled packaging materials, another way we can reduce the impact of our packaging is to increase the recycled content in them. By using recycled aluminum in cans, for example, we save up to 95% of the energy required when using virgin aluminum.
Our aluminium cans and glass bottles already contain up to 60% recycled content. Including recycled PET plastic in our bottles presents a challenge in terms of availability and cost. Although PET is widely recycled, it is cheaper and easier to channel it into carpet and clothing industries, which need not meet the high quality standards required of food containers.
We already use recycled PET content in Austria and other countries, and are working to increase this.
We help set up recycling infrastructure and encourage consumers to recycle their beverage packaging. We took the lead in establishing ARA System to collect, recover and recycle beverage containers on behalf of our industry.
In cooperation with the Austrian Ministry of Environment, a sustainability agenda was developed, in which the Austrian beverage industry sets itself the goal to use a certain amount of recyclable materials in packaging materials.
To date, the Company has helped set up systems in 19 countries, co-owning 17 recycling and recovery organisations.
Reducing production waste
In addition to minimising waste from our beverage containers in the marketplace, we are increasing recycling and minimising waste in our own bottling plants.
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