Coca-Cola Says It Won’t Break Free From Plastic Bottles

Despite its status as the world’s No. 1 corporate plastic polluterCoca-Cola won’t be phasing out its single-use plastic bottles anytime soon.

The reason? Customers like them too much, the company’s head of sustainability Bea Perez told BBC News at the World Economic Forum in Davos Tuesday. Perez said that customers value the bottles because they are lightweight and easily reseal, and argued that getting rid of them would hurt sales.

“Business won’t be in business if we don’t accommodate consumers,” she said.

Instead, the company plans to focus on recycling. It has promised to recycle as many bottles as it uses by 2030, to use 50 percent recycled materials in packaging by that date and to work with nonprofits to better collect its waste.

“So as we change our bottling infrastructure, move into recycling and innovate, we also have to show the consumer what the opportunities are. They will change with us,” Perez said.

However, environmental groups have argued that recycling is not the most effective solution to the plastic pollution crisis. In a statement emailed to EcoWatch, Greenpeace USA Plastics Campaigner Kate Melges explained exactly what she thought was wrong with Perez’s reasoning:

It is mighty convenient for the world’s worst plastic polluter to insist that people want their single-use plastic around. Coca-Cola continues to show how out of touch it is with the environmental crises communities around the world are facing. The solution is not to simply swap one throwaway material for another or continue to fall back on recycling. The solution is for Coca-Cola and other consumer goods giants to fundamentally rethink how they’re bringing products to people, centering systems of reuse and package-free options. We cannot afford the levels of inaction that Coke has shown thus far. Soon, the company will realize just how sick and tired people are of its plastic addiction.

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