The company that produces Coca-Cola in Australia says the technology for self-manufacturing lighter PET beverage bottles is reducing the carbon footprint of each bottle by 22 percent.
In its 2011 corporate responsibility report, Sydney-based Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. said the company is rolling out the US$463.8 million blow-fill technology across all its production facilities in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
A CCA spokeswoman said blow-fill combines blowing and filling PET 20-ounce beverage bottles on a regular filling line.
“It reduces quality risks associated with bottle contamination, particularly on sensitive products, and reduces use of water and fuel in cleaning and transportation,” she said.
Before CCA began using blow-fill technology, bottles were blown on a stretch blow molder and stored, then moved to filling machines or beverage plants.
The spokeswoman said the technology reduces costs and CCA's carbon footprint by eliminating empty bottle storage, handling and transport costs and reducing the amount of PET resin used to manufacture the bottles.
CCA began manufacturing its own PET bottles in 2010, having previously offloaded in-house operations and outsourced supplies.
In July 2002, CCA sold its PET facilities to a privately owned Melbourne, Australia-based packaging company, Visy Group. Visy bought CCA's PET manufacturing capacity for $144.3 million and, in return, CCA agreed Visy would supply all its PET bottle requirements for Australia and New Zealand and its PET preform requirements for Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
In the 2011 sustainability report, CCA Chair David Gonski and Managing Director Terry Davis said the investment in blow-fill technology is the company's biggest capital expenditure in 10 years.
“It enables us to manufacture PET beverage bottles on our production lines, delivering greater efficiencies in production, cost and customer service,” the executives said in their joint message.
As part of its blow-fill investment, CCA launched a $58.7 million plant last July in Sydney to produce PET resin preforms and bottle caps.
“Making all bottles and caps with less PET resin, [known as] lightweighting, will save around 9,000 [metric] tons of raw materials every year,” Gonsky and Davis said.
CCA has used blow-fill technology to produce a spring-water easy-crush bottle, which the company says is the lightest 20-ounce spring-water bottle in Australia. It weighs 0.5 ounce and uses 35 percent less PET plastic than stretch blow molded bottles.
The bottle won gold in the sustainability category of the 2011 Australian Packaging Design Awards.
The sustainability report said CCA will launch PlantBottle PET this year, which is manufactured with up to 30 percent plant-based materials. The company said the packaging is 100 percent recyclable and, unlike other plant-based plastics, can be repeatedly recycled and reused.