Coca Cola: “Plastic bottles are only single-use if they are thrown away”

Since September 2019, the famous drinks brand has been using provocative messaging to re-frame the conversation about their ubiquitous single use plastic packaging.

Sceptics would argue that by lobbying a change to the ‘single use’ definition, they would create a tax saving for themselves, but I think the conversation goes deeper.

A recyclable plastic – if recycled – and assuming fossil fuel transit and energy consumption – is probably a more sustainable material choice over aluminium for example. I think, however, changing the ‘single use’ definition is probably a stretch too far.

The conversation should be focused around the pre and post-consumer journey. A fully recycled or recyclable bottle is only sustainable if we make sure that the majority (if not all) of it goes back into the system instead of landfill or in some cases the water cycle. Whether the government decides to do this through incentives or taxation, consumers have a part to play too. Industry should be sharing responsibility rather than just ‘kicking the can’ or ‘passing the buck’ (both pertinent metaphors)

Legislation and taxation should be designed to force innovation for single use plastic and all single use packaging. While perhaps I’m biased towards innovation; change is more difficult for larger embedded organisations to realise; which is where government should step in.

While the holy grail of Zero packaging is probably not feasible in this case, I think at least creating an environment where this is at least worth exploring is a sensible use of resource… a target towards which we can make some small steps.

… to be clear; I’m not advocating a ‘coke’ tap next to the hot and cold!

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See also reference: Packaging news

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