Packaging innovation will revolutionise the industry

Summary of the contribution of Mrs. Ulrike Sapiro, director of Sustainability at The Coca-Cola Company.

Packaging is one of the cornerstones of moving towards circular.

Coca Cola’s PlantBottle is a recyclable bottle made partially from plant material. More than 40 billion bottles have been sold in more than 40 countries, saving 845,000 barrels of oil. The first bottle was 30% bioplastic but a new design has just been introduced that is 100% plant material. This makes business sense. When the design of your packaging creates waste, you are throwing away value.

Collaboration is the key to expanding the use of PlantBottles once they have reached the end of their life, so we have shared the material with Heinz, to make ketchup bottles and Ford Motor, to make interior fabrics.

But there are obstacles, including tariffs on the chemicals we import to make PlantBottle, the ongoing conflict between using biomass for food and fuel and the struggles of the recycling industry caused by low oil prices.

Financing the transformation to a circular economy requires far more than a simple adjustment – it will require a cultural shift, even a leap of faith.

Also read the article 'Coca-Cola calls on policymakers to take circular economy 'leap of faith''.

View a short video of Ulrike Sapiro on transforming to a circular economy.