Coca Cola Chair Pleads For Biodegradable Bottles

Is the ship of sustainability finally altering course so decisions are based on data and science? If we head the advice of Kent, we may just make some progress.

The 2018 Future Smarts Conference brought forth some eye-opening topics, not the least of which was the presentation by Muhtar Kent, Former CEO and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Coca-Cola Company, who surprised many attendees by calling on the industry to take action on sustainability by creating biodegradable bottles and collection systems.

“We have got to do a lot better in waste, we have got to do a lot better in innovation, we have got to do a lot better in social value creation,” Kent said. “I plead to the industry to do a lot more in these areas.”

With the current state of recycling and environmental issues surrounding plastics, Kent isn’t the only one looking beyond traditional recycling as a solution to this looming problem.

  • Switzerland is no longer pushing plastic recycling,
  • China, the largest user of recycled plastic implemented Green Fence effectively banning the import of recycled plastics,
  • just last month, Malaysia banned imports of plastic waste,
  • US cities are pulling back recycling programs to include far fewer items, and
  • the largest recycler in the US, Waste Management, has proclaimed that ‘combining effective recycling with landfill gas recovery provides the best bang for the buck’.

Overall the use of biodegradable plastics that are proven to biodegrade effectively in our current collection system (which is a landfill), just makes sense. We have a very effective collection system that keeps plastics out of our oceans. And, landfill biodegradable plastics increase the production of biogas in the landfill. These landfills have already built the collection system to capture the biogas and are returning the biogas to our communities for powering vehicles, homes and businesses.

So, Kent has it mostly right. We, as an industry, need to put more effort into using packaging that is landfill biodegradable.

Actually, let’s put all our effort into using landfill biodegradable plastics because the collection systems are already in place and the conversion systems for the biogas to energy are also already in place.

2018 Beverage Digest Future Smarts Conference