• CCA's Eastern Creek facility.
    CCA's Eastern Creek facility.

Coca-Cola Australia and Coca-Cola Amatil have announced the companies are on track to meeting sustainable packaging goals, with all soft drink and water brands (600ml and below) in Australia now being produced in 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles.

Earlier in the year, Amatil announced it will make seven out of 10 plastic bottles from 100 per cent recycled plastic by the end of 2019, and now has only its juice and dairy brands remaining to transition and complete the goal.

Coca-Cola Australia also increased its efforts to promote recycling, sponsoring Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week throughout this week (11-17 November).

“The plastic waste crisis is one of the most pressing issues of our time – one that we’re committed to help solve,” said Coca-Cola Australia director of sustainability Russell Mahoney.

“We know actions speak louder than words, which is why together with Coca-Cola Amatil we have made a landmark investment in recycled plastic in Australia to help support a viable domestic recycling economy.

“The other important piece of the puzzle is supporting initiatives that encourage Australians to recycle, which is why we’re proud to be working closely with Planet Ark as the major sponsor of National Recycling Week.”

Coca-Cola Amatil has also cut plastic use by a further 50 tonnes per year, and carbon emissions by 67 tonnes per year, by installing electricity sub-meters on each of its resin-drying subsystems at its Eastern Creek facility in Sydney.

According to Peter West, managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil Australia, the company is a major user of plastic resin in bottling – mostly involving recycled plastic.

“We shape this resin into bottle preforms at Eastern Creek in Sydney. The resin must be dried to a low moisture content before it’s reshaped.

“All our preform machines have dryers to dry the resin but we identified that drying time varied enormously across machines – from as low as a few hours to over 20 hours.

“Using sub-metering means we could pinpoint these specific drying times and make sure the team calibrated machines to meet the need,” he said.

West estimates that this has cut electricity use by 80 MWh per year, and has reduced resin loss from over-drying.

“As a result of lower materials loss, we’ve cut our total plastic use by 50 tonnes a year from this action alone. That’s a good commercial outcome, and another step forward for sustainability.”

In October, Amatil was announced as a finalist in the 2019 Waste Management and Resource Recovery Awards for creating carbonated soft drink bottles made from 100 per cent recycled plastic. The company says its use of recycled materials has cut its annual virgin plastics use in Australia by around 16,000 tonnes.

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