Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa expands returnable PET bottle program

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

The bottles state 'returnable' in green on the front of pack. Pic: CCBSA
The bottles state 'returnable' in green on the front of pack. Pic: CCBSA

Related tags: Coca-cola, South africa

After a successful pilot, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is expanding the roll-out of 2L returnable PET bottles to help reduce plastic waste.

Following the roll-out of its Eastern Cape pilot project in November 2019, CCBSA is expanding the roll-out of the 2L returnable PET bottles across Northern Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

The returnable PET bottles use a paper label with ‘returnable’ appearing in a green strip on the front of the bottle. CCBSA says the roll-out represents a ‘significant investment’ in a new packaging line to ensure that the PET bottles comply with global standards for design, hygiene and safety for PET packaging.

Once a bottle is returned to CCBSA, it is cleaned then refilled to start its next lifecycle. When the bottle reaches the end of its useable lifecycle, it is repurposed into another PET product.

“We have seen customers in the Eastern Cape opting to switch over to purchasing the returnable 2L bottles and returning them after consumption,” ​said Velaphi Ratshefola, Managing Director of CCBSA.

“After each bottle reaches the end of its useable lifecycle, it joins a regional manufacturing value chain which ultimately means less pollution in the environment.”

The recommended retail price for a 2L 'Coca-Cola Original Taste – Less Sugar' is R15, which excludes a R9 deposit. Other brands, like Coca-Cola No Sugar, Sprite and Fanta, are also be available in the new 2L returnable PET plastic bottle at a recommended retail price of R12 excluding the R9 deposit. This means a saving of around R7 per bottle, depending on where a customer purchases their bottle.

CCBSA will now start working on identifying further geographies where it can continue the expansion over a five-year period.

According to the PET Recycling Company (PETCO), 62% of PET bottles were collected after use and recycled in South Africa last year. The Coca-Cola system in South Africa currently uses an average of 8% recycled content in its plastic bottles. It says that the more bottles that are collected and recycled, the more recycled content it will be able to use in its bottles.

Returnable PET is part of The Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste vision that aims to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle and can that it sells globally by 2030.

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