Fans of Fanta or Coca-Cola will increasingly notice a small but subtle change in the caps of disposable PET bottles.
The cap on Coca-Cola’s soft-drink bottles remains firmly attached to the bottle neck when unscrewed. There is a good reason for this, Coca-Cola Germany explains: the fixed cap makes it even easier to collect and recycle all the bottle’s components. Consumers simply leave the cap on the bottle when drinking, reseal it, and return the packaging to the deposit machine as usual. “The same great taste and drinking experience that people expect from our beverages remains. We are proud to be one of the first manufacturers in Germany to start implementing new lids to improve the recycling loop, two years before the transition period of the new EU requirement expires,” says Tim Kolbe, senior brand manager at Coca-Cola Germany.
The company is changing the design in line with the EU directive on single-use plastic products, which by 2024 requires beverage manufacturers to ensure lids remain firmly attached to the bottle to protect the environment. To make consumers aware of the new caps, Coca-Cola Germany will label the lids with the words “Leave me attached!”
“In Germany, 97 percent of disposable PET bottles are already returned via the deposit system, and around 95 percent of these even come with lids. But in the future, we also want to recycle the remaining lids and are showing pioneering spirit here in Germany undertaking the changeover as one of the first countries at Coca-Cola in Europe,” says Dr. Stefan Kunerth, Technical Operations Director Western Europe at “The Coca-Cola Company.” The aim is to convert all German plants to bottles with the new closures in their production by January 2024. Due to the gradual changeover, which is a result of the size of the production network, non-refillable PET bottles with both the previous type of closure and the new closures will be on sale for a while.
New: less material used
The changeover to the new caps is now gradually beginning at The Coca-Cola Company in other EU countries. After all, improving the collection and recycling of packaging waste is a top priority for Coca-Cola. However, deposit systems based on the German model are not yet in place everywhere in Europe. If the caps are attached to the bottle, this also ensures a better recycling cycle in EU countries without a deposit system.
In Germany, Coca-Cola is also using the changeover to the new caps as an opportunity to reduce the overall amount of material used in the bottles. With the new closures, a total of up to 1.37 grams of plastic per bottle can be saved. This in turn pays off for Coca-Cola’s sustainability efforts in Germany as a whole.