Coca-Cola supports Ioniqa to accelerate high-grade, recycled PET development

Coca-Cola supports Ioniqa to accelerate high-grade, recycled PET development

17 Dec 2018 --- The Coca-Cola Company is extending a loan to Ioniqa Technologies, based in the Netherlands, to facilitate the development of Ioniqa’s proprietary technology which can reportedly turn colored and hard-to-recycle PET plastics into transparent, virgin-grade material. The agreement is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of high-grade recycled content PET for use in Coca-Cola bottles.

This investment supports the company’s global vision of working towards its goal to create packaging made of at least 50 percent recycled material by 2030. The new technology supports the circular economy for plastics by allowing packages such as colored PET bottles that may have been excluded from certain recycling streams to be recycled into food-grade quality packaging.

The investment follows Coca-Cola US’ multi-year agreement with Loop Industries to supply its branded, high-grade 100 percent recycled plastic resin to participating bottlers within the US. The supply framework will see Loop supply the Coca-Cola system’s Cross Enterprise Procurement Group (“CEPG”) with 100 percent recycled and sustainable Loop PET plastic (“Loop PET”) from Loop’s joint venture facility with Indorama Ventures in the US to authorized Coca-Cola bottlers who enter into supply agreements with Loop.

The agreement with Ioniqa is intended to accelerate scale-up of its recycling technology for PET. Ioniqa has developed a proprietary recycling technology that is able to convert hard-to-recycle PET-containing colored bottles into purified polymer building blocks that can be later re-formed into high-quality PET. The technology has been validated at the demonstration scale with value chain partners, such as Unilever, and an industrial plant is under construction in the Netherlands for commissioning in 2019.

“Our investment in new and pioneering recycling technologies is an opportunity for significant movement toward closing the loop and creating a circular economy for PET,” says Robert Long, Chief Innovation Officer for The Coca-Cola Company. “We plan to continue investing in developing the right partnerships and initiatives – like with Ioniqa – to support our vision of a World Without Waste.”

With more than 1.9 billion servings of Coke consumed in more than 200 countries each day, the implementation of Ioniqa’s technology into Coca-Cola’s plastic source could have a large impact.

Access to recycled plastic resin is high on the agenda for FMCGs as long-term sustainability goals edge closer. In October, Coca-Cola’s competitor, PepsiCo, entered into a similar multi-year agreement with Loop in order to facilitate increased access to high-quality recycled plastics across its US production.   

Food and beverage companies could also be taxed on plastic packaging that contains less than 30 percent recycled content from April 2022, in the UK, which is another reason for companies to step up their efforts regarding the recycled content in products.  

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