Dasani’s next 5 steps to greater packaging sustainability

By Rick Lingle in Sustainable Packaging on August 20, 2019

The water brand unveils a quintet of initiatives to align with parent company Coca-Cola’s goal of packaging containing 50% recycled material by 2030 as part of a circular economy.

 

August 13 was a watershed day for Dasani when the water brand unveiled a five-component salvo of sustainability initiatives aligned with parent company Coca-Cola Company’s global “World Without Waste” goal to make packaging with 50% recycled material by 2030.

“Today’s announcement is the largest sustainability initiative in the history of the Dasani brand,” said Lauren King, brand director, Dasani. “It’s rooted in providing sustainable options for our consumers, while doubling down on our commitment to minimize our impact on the environment. Over the last decade we’ve been on a journey to make Dasani more sustainable through new package design and innovation, and we are now accelerating these efforts in support our company’s ambitious goals to significantly reduce packaging waste around the world by 2030.  While there is no single solution to the problem of plastic waste, the additional package and package-less options we are rolling out today mark an important next step in our effort to provide even more sustainable solutions at scale.”

The news centered on five parallel initiatives involving hybrid bottles from renewable resources, a major entry into highly recyclable aluminum, package weight reduction research, recycling-enhancing labeling and packaging-reducing dispensing for foodservice outlets.

The day of the announcements Packaging Digest interviewed Sneha Shah, group director, packaging innovation, Coca-Cola North America, who discloses details and reasoning behind these initiatives.

1. The debut of the HybridBottle, the next generation of the PlantBottle

The HybridBottle is Coca-Cola Company’s first package in the United States to be made with a mix of up to 50% plant-based renewable (PlantBottle) and recycled PET (rPET) with the balance virgin PET.

Rather than a tidy 50/50 split of the sustainable content constituents, the sustainably enhanced bottle a mix of around 30% recycled (rPET) content and 20% renewable (PlantBottle) content with the remaining balance virgin PET.

Along with recycling efforts, the HybridBottle promotes renewable resources such as sugarcane and corn.

The PlantBottle, the company’s current sustainably enhanced benchmark standard, is mix of 30% renewable and 70% virgin PET, meaning that the HybridBottle will remove an incrementally larger amount of virgin material from the brand’s portfolio.

 

Shah identified three key considerations for this development:

Sourcing of recycled content. While tapping its current suppliers, Coca-Cola is also bringing on six additional mechanical processing rPET suppliers in 2019 to ensure consistent quality of materials and performance of food-grade material sourced for use in the HybridBottles, though Shah declined to identify them by name.

Quality of the material. Those requirements included it being food-grade material with proper coloring/clarity.

Packaging performance. This includes the entire supply chain through to the consumer experience and with overall scalability.

“This is going to accelerate our use of recyclable and renewable resources and is an industry-leading solution for the market in North America,” Shah states.

Anticipating a mid-2020 national launch as a 20oz bottle, the HybridBottle’s composition matches perfectly with the company’s 2030 target for 50% recycled content in packaging.

In related news from early 2019, the company made the PlantBottle technology available to all interested companies, including competitors. Currently, only a limited number of suppliers produce the type of biomaterial used to make PlantBottle resin, which adds complexity and cost to the production process. By encouraging more use of bioPET by companies both inside and outside the beverage industry, Coke hopes to scale up demand and drive down pricing.

“This is very exciting news for us because we want more companies in all food or beverage markets to participate and leverage the technology,” Shah told Packaging Digest.

Next: Aluminum cans enter the packaging mix in three ways

Rick Lingle

Rick Lingle is senior technical editor of Packaging Digest. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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