Drinks producer Coca-Cola is introducing new bottle caps in Belgium and Luxembourg. From 9 February 2023, the company will gradually switch to caps that are attached to the bottle. This will apply to all its PET bottles, which have been manufactured from recycled plastic (rPET)* since 2021. These new caps are intended to encourage collection and recycling, as part of the fight against litter. The change will bring Coca-Cola into line with the European Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive, which comes into force in 2024.
What does the change involve?
From now on, the cap will be connected to the neck of the bottle by a solid tab attached to the safety ring, ensuring that caps and bottles will always be collected at the same time for recycling. This makes it easier to follow recycling guidance: flatten the bottle lengthwise and put the cap back on. The innovation aims to reduce the number of caps that are littered and to help consumers apply sorting instructions properly.
Coca-Cola is not the only brand where this development is being introduced: other group brands will make this change in Belgium and Luxembourg over the next few months. Consumers will first see these changes in 1.5L bottles of Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite sold in shops. Other sizes and brands in the Coca-Cola portfolio will follow suit before the summer, including Fuze Tea and Chaudfontaine.
The transition is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, for every brand.
Why the change?
The move brings Coca-Cola Belgium and Luxembourg into line with the European SUP Directive and represents a further step in its world without waste strategy. The company has a very clear vision for reducing the carbon footprint of its packaging: use less packaging when possible, and collect used packaging so that it is recycled and does not end up as litter.
Bottles and caps have always been recycled correctly thanks to state-of-the-art sorting and recycling plants, where machinery can separate HDPE caps from PET bottles and each plastic fraction follows the right recycling path. Despite this, it is noticeable that many bottle caps still end up as litter. This change in habits for consumers and in design for Coca-Cola will therefore make a clear difference for the environment.
Before Coca-Cola introduced them, caps attached to bottles were already being seen on the market. Other brands had already made this change, including Sources Alma brands such as Cristaline.
*100% recycled plastic except cap and label, and Aquarius 1.5 l, Tropico 1.5 l and Minute Maid 33 cl.