Enrique Ackermann, vice-president of technical and innovation, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia

Beverage major Coca-Cola was recently in the news for launching 100% rPET (recycled PET) bottles for its packaged water brand Kinley in India. The company says it aims to incorporate a minimum of 50% recycled content in its packaging by the year 2030, in line with its commitment to building a ‘world without waste.’

Throughout the entire production process, the company employs stringent technologies and protocols to ensure the recycled plastic material meets food safety standards approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), according to Enrique Ackermann, vice-president of technical and innovation, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia.

rPET bottles are produced using food-grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The recycling process for PET bottles adheres to technologies approved by the US FDA and EFSA. This process involves transforming the plastic through approved technologies into recycled PET resin, which is further converted into PET bottles. The rPET bottles were launched in India only after getting FSSAI’s nod to use recycled PET in food packaging. This approval is based on adherence to FSSAI guidelines and after a comprehensive review of food safety.”

India is a crucial market for the company, which has high hopes from the country due to its enormous potential and rapid infrastructural development. “By emphasizing the accessibility and affordability of our product offering, we have been able to grow our customer base. We recorded over three billion transactions in the first quarter that ended 31 March 2023. We are devoted to our business endeavors and have made considerable investments in them,” Ackermann said.

These measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of the recycled plastic material used for packaging food and beverages, Ackermann said. “We have been working to increase the usage of recycled materials in our packaging to achieve this goal. Sri Sarvaraya Sugars in Tamil Nadu, our bottling partner, has been instrumental as first movers in this sustainability initiative within the Coca-Cola System in India.”

In December 2022, Coca-Cola Bangladesh took the lead in the Southwest Asia (SWA) region by launching 100% rPET bottles, specifically introducing Kinley water bottles in two-liter packages. Following this launch, the company extended the use of rPET bottles to the Indian market, offering 1-liter Kinley bottles. “This expansion demonstrates our commitment to implementing sustainable packaging solutions across different markets,” he adds.

Globally, the Coca-Cola company now provides 100% rPET bottles in over 40 markets, which Ackermann says emphasizes its dedication to promoting the use of recycled materials and reducing the environmental impact. “By continuously expanding the use of rPET bottles, Coca-cola wishes to create a more sustainable future,” he says.

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The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are growing similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

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