Coca-Cola sets ambitious new sustainable packaging goals for Western Europe

Coca-Cola sets ambitious new sustainable packaging goals for Western Europe

  • Coca-Cola Western Europe[1] and Coca-Cola European Partners announce new goals to accelerate their sustainability action plan.

  • New goals include ambition to accelerate the target from 50% to 100% recycled or renewable material in its plastic bottles

Coca-Cola Western Europe and Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) are stepping up their ambition for a World Without Waste by accelerating their joint action plan to collect, recycle and reuse their packaging. 


The two partners are raising the bar of This is Forward, their sustainability action plan for Western Europe, which pledged that by 2025 Coca-Cola will: collect a can or bottle for every one that it sells; ensure that all of its packaging is 100% recyclable and ensure that at least 50% of the content of its plastic bottles comes from recycled content.


Today, they are announcing further goals designed to accelerate their delivery of a sustainable packaging roadmap for Western Europe, ensuring that all of their packaging is collected, recycled and reused.  These include:

  • Working to remove all unnecessary or hard-to-recycle plastic from its portfolio, through lightweighting and the removal of all secondary packaging made from plastic. This will avoid the use of over 11,000 tonnes of plastic per year. Coca-Cola European Partners recently announced that in Western Europe, it would move from plastic shrink wrap to 100% recyclable cardboard for its multipack cans, removing 4,000 tonnes of plastic from its supply chain in 2020. It also recently transitioned its Sprite brand from green to clear PET plastic bottles, which are easier to recycle bottle to bottle.

  • Working towards 100% recycled or renewable materials in all of its plastic bottles, avoiding the use of over 200,000 tonnes of virgin plastic every year.  Coca-Cola in Western Europe will reach 50% recycled content in its plastic bottles two years earlier than its stated goal (by 2023, rather than 2025).  In July, Coca-Cola in Western Europe announced that its Honest, Glaceau Smartwater and Chaudfontaine brands would all transition to 100% recycled plastic in their bottles in 2019/20
  • Support for well-designed deposit return schemes across Western Europe, where a successful proven alternative does not already exist, in line with its goal to collect a bottle or can for every one that it sells by 2025. Coca-Cola, with its bottling partners, will also support well-designed DRS across its wider European markets, where effective alternatives are not already in place
  • Transparent disclosure of its packaging footprint on an annual basis by packaging type, as well as reporting on performance against stated commitments and goals.

Solutions for the future


Tim Brett, President for Coca-Cola Western Europe, said: “Too many of the world’s finite resources are currently discarded as waste. We know we need to do more to correct this. The targets we’ve set out today are ambitious and rightly so. There is a valuable role for packaging, but it must always be collected, recycled and reused.  Our aim, working in partnership with CCEP and others, is to see the term ‘single-use plastic’ become redundant, both in our business and beyond, as all of our plastic – and indeed all of our packaging - is delivered within a closed loop.”


In 2019, in Western Europe, the Coca-Cola system invested €180m in sustainable packaging, across their operations and in the incubation of new packaging and packaging-free solutions for the future. 


As an example, Coca-Cola has unveiled the first ever sample bottle made using recovered and recycled marine plasticsdemonstrating that one day, even ocean debris could be used in recycled packaging for food or drinks.


Through a partnership between Ioniqa Technologies, Indorama Ventures, Mares Circulares (Circular Seas) and The Coca-Cola Company, about 300 sample bottles were made using 25% recycled marine plastic[2] retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea and beaches. The bottles were designed and developed to show the transformational potential of revolutionary enhanced recycling technologies, which can recycle previously used plastics of any quality back to high-quality plastic that can be used for food or drink packaging. The sample bottle is the first ever plastic bottle made using marine plastic that has been successfully recycled for food and drink packaging.


The marine plastic bottle has been developed as proof of concept for what the technology may achieve in time.  To begin with, enhanced recycling will be introduced at commercial scale using waste streams from existing recyclers, including previously unrecyclable plastics and lower-quality recyclables.  From 2020, Coca-Cola plans to roll out this enhanced recycled content in some of its bottles.


This and other innovations will be explored in a newly formed Packaging Innovation Hub, focused on accelerating investment and innovation in sustainable packaging solutions across Western Europe. These include continuing investment in enhanced recycling technologies, as well as alternative packaging solutions for the future, such as paper bottles, bio-based packaging materials, refillable-returnable and packaging-free alternatives, like Freestyle or wider micro-dosing solutions.


You can find out more about the journey of the marine plastic bottle at:


To find out more about The Coca-Cola Company’s wider goals and actions on packaging waste, please visit:


[1] All references to Western Europe refer to markets where Coca-Cola European Partners is active:  Andorra, Belgium, continental France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
[2] Final recycled marine plastic content in the bottle will vary post production, between 20-25%