Buzzwords explained: Renewable

‘Renewable’ has become synonymous with energy, but it can apply to anything that can be replenished – like the plastic that Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) use to produce Coca-Cola bottles. Find out more and how CCEP are using renewable materials in packaging…

What does renewable mean?
The term ‘renewable’ applies to materials and resources that don’t run out at their source and can be manufactured quickly enough to keep up with demand. It’s commonly used for energy, where sources are either renewable (wind, solar, water) or non-renewable (coal, oil, gas). Most renewable materials are natural and raw, such as bamboo, cotton, hemp and beeswax.

How are Coca-Cola European Partners using renewable materials?
CCEP have always been committed to reducing the environmental impact of their bottles and cans, and their new sustainable packaging announcement shows how they plan to recover and recycle all of their packaging. Part of the strategy is working on new innovations to help develop sustainable packaging, including renewable materials.

2009 saw the launch of PlantBottle™, the first-ever fully recyclable plastic bottle made partially from plants, rather than fossil fuels. Instead of using petroleum (a non-renewable energy source), PlantBottles are produced using sugar cane residue, which significantly reduces the carbon dioxide emissions.

In Great Britain, PlantBottles™ are used for all Honest and glaceau smartwater bottles. So far, more than 35 billion PlantBottles™ have been distributed globally, saving around 315,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Find out more about PlantBottle™

Is plastic a renewable resource?
The reason plastic is so widely used is because it has so many benefits. It’s cheap to produce, can be moulded into any shape, plus it’s light and safe to use. If it’s properly disposed of, plastic can be recovered, recycled and reused – either as new packaging or other uses such as fibres and fabric. This makes it a renewable material. Recycled plastic also uses 60% less energy than new plastic to produce, so the more we can recover to recycle, the more sustainable a source plastic will be.

Learn more about the Coca-Cola system's new sustainable packaging strategy