Statement: PIRG, Environment America welcome Coca-Cola’s commitment to reuse

Media Contacts
Steve Blackledge

Senior Director, Conservation America Campaign, Environment America Research & Policy Center

The beverage giant announced an industry-leading commitment to address plastic waste

Environment America

ATLANTA— The Coca-Cola Co., the world’s top plastic polluter according to a recent Global Brand Audit, announced on Thursday a new commitment to use refillable or returnable glass or plastic bottles – or refillable containers at fountains and dispensers – for at least 25% of global beverage sales across its entire brand portfolio by 2030.

In the United States, the commitment aims to build on existing reuse pilot programs. The beverage giant has already rolled out refillable PET plastic bottles—which can be cleaned, refilled and reused before being recycled and made into new bottles—in South Africa. To ensure consumers will have access to refillable containers at fountains and dispensers, Coca-Cola will need to expand upon programs with fast food brands, such as with Burger King.

In response, Alex Truelove, U.S. PIRG Education Fund zero waste director, and Steve Blackledge, Environment America Research & Policy Center senior conservation director, released the following statement:

“Whales, sea turtles, birds and countless other animals are needlessly choking on and dying from microplastics from single-use products like beverage containers. Collectively, we must choose wildlife over single-use plastic waste, because nothing that’s used for a few minutes should poison our environment for eons,” Blackledge said. “We’re pleased to see Coca-Cola’s announcement today to say ‘Yes’ to reusable alternatives to single-use plastic. It’s a step in the right direction, and one that we hope other beverage brands will follow.”

“Coca-Cola’s commitment to reusable bottles and containers points to a less wasteful future. It’s also a welcomed acknowledgement from the world’s leading plastic polluter that we cannot recycle our way out of the plastic waste crisis,” Truelove said. “As the largest beverage company in the world, I sincerely hope Coca-Cola successfully meets its new commitment, and goes even further to support beverage deposit systems that can bring us closer to a system based on reuse rather than waste.”