The Coca-Cola Company’s Decline in Reusable Packaging: Oceana Calls for Urgent Action

Coca-Cola Company’s decline in reusable packaging. The Coca-Cola Company’s commitment to increase the share of its products sold in reusable packaging has faced a setback. Despite aiming for 25% of products sold in reusable containers by 2030, the company’s latest sustainability report reveals a decline in the share of reusable packaging sold in 2022. Oceana, a leading environmental organization, estimates that this decline could have resulted in the production of billions of additional single-use plastic bottles. This article explores the implications of Coca-Cola’s decline in reusable packaging and highlights Oceana’s call for urgent action.

Coca-Cola’s Decline in Reusable Packaging

The Coca-Cola Company reported a decline in the share of products sold in reusable containers, dropping from 16% in the initial pledge announcement to 14% in 2022. This decline, equivalent to an estimated 5.8 billion additional single-use plastic bottles and cups over the past two years, raises concerns about the environmental impact. Oceana highlights that this decline was not addressed or explained in Coca-Cola’s sustainability report.

Major Bottlers’ Sales of Reusables

Oceana’s analysis reveals that major Coca-Cola bottlers also experienced declines in sales of beverages in reusable packaging. Four bottlers, accounting for a significant portion of Coca-Cola’s reusable sales, reported smaller shares in 2022 compared to the previous year. For instance, Coca-Cola FEMSA, responsible for approximately 26% of Coca-Cola’s reusable sales, saw its reusable share decline from 34% in 2021 to 31.5% in 2022.

Importance of Increased Reusable Sales

Reusable packaging plays a crucial role in reducing plastic waste and protecting the oceans. Coca-Cola’s decline in reusable packaging, coupled with the decline among major bottling partners, raises concerns about the viability of the company’s commitment. It is essential for Coca-Cola and its bottling partners to prioritize the promotion of reusable containers to mitigate the harmful impact of single-use plastic bottles on waterways and seas.

The Potential of Reusable Packaging

Reusable containers, such as refillable bottles, offer significant environmental advantages. Each refillable bottle can replace up to 24-49 single-use plastic bottles, depending on the material. By using refillable bottles, Coca-Cola FEMSA has reported a potential reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by up to 47% compared to single-use plastic bottles.

Oceana’s Call for Action

Oceana calls on The Coca-Cola Company to redouble its efforts to meet its reusable packaging commitment and reduce plastic waste. Specifically, Oceana urges Coca-Cola to provide support and leadership to significantly increase sales of reusable containers worldwide. The organization emphasizes the importance of marketing the benefits of reusable packaging to consumers and encourages major bottling partners to actively participate in achieving higher reusable shares.

The Environmental Impact

If Coca-Cola successfully reaches its 25% reusable packaging goal, it could prevent the production of over 100 billion single-use plastic bottles and cups. Furthermore, Oceana estimates that approximately 8.5 to 14.7 billion plastic bottles and cups could be prevented from polluting waterways and seas based on global rates of aquatic plastic pollution. Given Coca-Cola’s track record as

“Given Coca-Cola’s track record as the world’s top plastic polluter for the past five years, the company has a crucial role in curbing plastic waste and protecting the environment. By increasing the sales of reusable containers, Coca-Cola can make a significant positive impact on reducing plastic pollution in our oceans.

Oceana emphasizes that each bottling company within the Coca-Cola system should demonstrate its commitment to the reusable packaging goal by pledging to increase its share of reusables by at least ten percentage points above current levels. This collective effort will not only help prevent billions of single-use plastic bottles and cups from entering our oceans but also inspire other beverage and bottling giants to follow suit.

Furthermore, Oceana encourages Coca-Cola to proactively communicate the reasons behind the decline in reusable packaging and take measures to rectify the situation. Transparency and accountability are vital in building trust and ensuring the company’s commitment to sustainability.

In conclusion, The Coca-Cola Company’s decline in reusable packaging is a cause for concern, both for the environment and consumers who prioritize sustainable choices. Oceana urges Coca-Cola to redouble its efforts, support major bottling partners, and aggressively promote the benefits of reusable packaging. By embracing reusable containers on a larger scale, Coca-Cola can make a significant contribution to reducing plastic waste and protecting our oceans for future generations.”

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