Coca-Cola Co. wants to see its plastic bottles contain an average of 50 percent recycled content by the end of the next decade
The Atlanta-based company, which serves a lot of drinks in PET bottles, admits the world has a packaging problem.
So Coca-Cola also is setting out to recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of its packaging by 2030 as part of an effort it calls World Without Waste.
"The world has a packaging problem," CEO James Quincey said in statement. "And, like call companies, we have a responsibility to help solve it."
Coca-Cola also will work to make its packaging 100 percent recyclable.
The company, in revealing the new approach, laid out some key goals.
"By 2030, for every bottle or can the Coca-Cola system sells globally, we aim to take one back so it has more than one life. The company is investing its marketing dollars and skills behind this 100 percent collection goal to help people understand what, how and where to recycle," the company said. "We will support collection of packaging across the industry, including bottles and cans from other companies."
The company also said it will invest in packaging to help achieve the recycling goal.
"The company is building better bottles, whether through more recycled content, by developing plant-based resins, or by reducing the amount of plastic in each container.
"Bottles and cans shouldn't harm our plant, and a litter-free world is possible," Quincey said in his statement.
Coca-Cola said it will work with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Ocean Conservancy/Trash Free Seas Alliance and the World Wildlife Fund.
Greenpeace has been critical of Coca-Cola's "plastic footprint" and had mixed reactions to the company's announcement.
Greenpeace applauded plans for increased recycled content, but criticized the lack of specific reduction targets.
"Although Coca-Cola's announcement falls short of what is needed from one of the world's biggest brands, together we have achieved a huge amount — in less than a year, we got the world's largest soft drinks company to admit their role in ocean plastic pollution, pressured them into developing a global bottle strategy, led them to increase the amount of recycled plastic content they use globally and got them to come out in support of deposit return schemes in the [United Kingdom]. That is huge," said Greenpeace's Tisha Brown said on the group's website. Brown is a campaigner on Greenpeace's oceans team.
Coca-Cola's announcement "falls far short of what's needed," Brown said in the post.
Coca-Cola has garnered plenty of attention for years now regarding its PlantBottle, a PET container made partially from renewable material.
The company uses plant-based monoethylene glycol, which constitutes 30 percent of a PET bottle, as part of the formula to make the containers. The remaining 70 percent is purified terephthalic and comes from fossil fuel-based sources.