Coca-Cola introduced to the Czech Market packaging that keeps plastic lids tethered to bottles when opened to make it easier for consumers to recycle drinks packaging in its entirety.
Plastic bottle caps can be recycled but are often lost, discarded or end up as litter, Coca-Cola said in a statement. The new design aims to reduce that, the company said.
The design is part of Coca-Cola’s strategy to help create a “circular economy” for its plastic products amid regulation and calls to reduce the amount of its plastic packaging that ends up in landfills and elsewhere.
By introducing the new obligation, the European Union promises that non-removable caps on bottles will keep all parts of beverage packaging together after consumption. This will make their collection and subsequent recycling much easier.
“After arriving at the recycling centre, the bottles and their caps go into a shredder, which is a set of knives that shreds them into flakes of about 10 millimetres under a stream of water. The whole mass is then washed in hot water with detergents to get rid of impurities, then it goes into a cold wash where the PET flakes from the bottles are separated from the flakes from the caps – the latter are made of HDPE,” explains František Doležal, CEO of the recycling company General Plastic.
Consumer reaction in markets where caps have not been removable for some time, such as Germany, has so far been mixed. Some appreciate the move in a more environmentally friendly direction, others complain that the cap scratches their lips or face when they drink.
Coca-Cola has said it has a responsibility to help solve what it calls the world’s plastics problem and has announced plans to use at least 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030. It also plans to make its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025 as part of its World Without Waste environmental program introduced in 2018.
Coca-Cola wants to use less packaging where it can and to see all packaging it uses collected, reused or recycled, a company spokesman said.