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Coca‑Cola Co. Debuts Lightweight PET Bottle Designs

Coca-Cola PET bottles

As part of a commitment to create a circular economy for its packaging, The Coca‑Cola Co. is rolling out redesigned, lighter-weight PET bottles for its sparkling beverage portfolio across the U.S. and Canada this year.

For the first time in a decade, 12-, 16.9- and 20-ounce bottles of Coca‑Cola, Sprite and Fanta – as well as Minute Maid Refreshments and Minute Maid Aguas Frescas – are sporting new shapes that require fewer raw material to produce.

“We’ve been continuously working to ‘right-weight’ our bottles, incrementally going from 27 to 21 grams over the last 10 years,” said Alejandro Santamaria, senior director for global packaging development and innovation.

“But we’d reached the floor with our previous designs. Our breakthrough innovations in modeling technology, which reduce the weight of our bottles to 18.5 grams, represent a major step in reducing the amount of materials used while preserving the durability and functionality of our packaging and, most importantly, the quality and taste standards of our beverages.”

PET bottles are made by injecting heated liquid resin into test tube-like “preforms,” which are then inflated into bottle molds with the final intended shape. 

“The secret is finding the right preform design, combined with bottle shape features, that allow you to lightweight without compromising quality,” Santamaria explains, noting that the designs apply to virgin and 100 percent recycled plastic bottles (excluding cap and label). 

“This is especially critical with sparkling beverages, which must maintain specific carbonation levels to preserve taste when opened.” 

The new bottles will deliver sustainability benefits for the company and its bottling partners. The transition is projected to reduce use of new plastic by the equivalent of about 800 million bottles in 2025.

In addition, the packaging shift is estimated to reduce carbon emissions in 2025 compared to 2024 in an amount equivalent to removing more than 17,000 cars from the road for one year.

It supports the company’s World Without Waste goals of designing all packaging to be recyclable by 2025, using 50 percent recycled content by 2030 – when it also aims to collect a bottle or can for each one produced – and reducing its use of virgin plastic derived from nonrenewable sources.

Testing is under way to potentially apply the lightweight designs to multi-serve 2-liter and 24-ounce PET bottles. Also, a significant portion of the Coca‑Cola North America beverages portfolio – including sports drinks, enhanced waters and teas – will transition from hot fill to aseptic processing, which uses less plastic and energy.

“We intentionally started with our highest-selling SKUs,” Santamaria said. “And we are not leaving any rock unturned when it comes to reducing our per-package use of PET material.”

Read more sustainability news from The Shelby Report.

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Sommer Stockton

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Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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