Coca-Cola refuses to scrap plastic bottles in fear of reduced sales

Olivia Petter
Getty Images

Coca-Cola has said it will not stop selling drinks in single-use plastic bottles because it would alienate customers and reduce sales.

Bea Perez, who is head of sustainability at the company, told the BBC that people like buying Coca-Cola in plastic bottles because they are lightweight and resealable.

“Business won’t be in business if we don’t accommodate consumers,” she said.

“So as we change our bottling infrastructure, move into recycling and innovate, we also have to show the consumer what the opportunities are. They will change with us.”

Coca-Cola has pledged to use at least 50 per cent recycled materials in its packaging by 2030.

“We have to reach this goal and we will – there’s no question,” Perez said.

The beverages company currently produces roughly three million tonnes of plastic packaging each year.

Last year, the charity Break Free from Plastic identified Coca Cola as the “most polluting brand” in an audit of plastic waste.

In September, the organisation conducted 484 beach cleanups in more than 50 countries.

The group found that 11,732 pieces of plastic collected during the cleanups were from Coca-Cola products, an amount that was more than the next top three global polluters combined.

In response to the report, Coca-Cola said it would address this “critical global issue”.

“Any time our packaging ends up in our oceans – or anywhere that it doesn’t belong – is unacceptable to us. In partnership with others, we are working to address this critical global issue, both to help turn off the tap in terms of plastic waste entering our oceans and to help clean up the existing pollution,” they added.

The brand also pointed to various other environmental initiatives, such as its World Without Waste programme, set out in 2017.

“This [programme] included a goal to recover 100 per cent of the cans and bottles we use, by 2030, so that none of our packaging ends up as waste and all of our bottles and cans are recycled and used again.”

You can read more about Coca-Cola’s sustainability goals here.

Read more

Ready Steady Cook to avoid plastic and reduce food waste