U.S. PIRG Education Fund urges the public to hold Coca-Cola accountable on its pledge to reduce plastic use

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Alex Truelove

The world’s top plastic polluter plans to reduce new plastic with 100 percent recycled content bottles — only in select locations

U.S. PIRG Education Fund

ATLANTA— The Coca-Cola Company, a top plastic polluter according to a 2020 Brand Audit from the nonprofit Break Free From Plastic, announced a new commitment today to start using plastic bottles made with 100 percent recycled plastic for select brands in some U.S. states. According to the company, it would account for a nearly 20 percent reduction of new plastic used in North America compared to 2018. The commitment follows similar ones made by other major consumer goods companies, recently documented by U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

Corporate commitments relying on recycled content have become increasingly common, but such goals have rarely been met. In 2015, Coca-Cola fell short of a 25 percent recycled content goal for all materials, only reaching 12.4 percent, and as recently as 2020, the company reported only 9.7 percent recycled plastic in packaging.

In response, Alex Truelove, Zero Waste director, and Haley Clinton, Zero Waste associate at U.S. PIRG Education Fund, released the following statement:

“Coca-Cola’s new commitment to 100 percent recycled bottles, while admirable, perpetuates the continued use of disposable plastic,” said Alex Truelove. “Recycled plastic bottles are often made from new ones, and cannot be recycled again. For major beverage companies to prevent plastic pollution, they need to reject the current business model that created our crisis and embrace reuse and refill solutions.”

Haley Clinton added, “Coca-Cola is the largest plastic polluter on the planet, so their attention to the plastic pollution crisis is important. However, to truly address the magnitude of plastic pollution, the company needs to move beyond narrow, local changes and they need to be held accountable. It’s up to us, the public, to ensure Coca Cola keeps their promises moving forward.”