International beverage producer Coca-Cola has told an audience at the World Economic Forum that it plans to continue using single-use plastic bottles for its products, citing demand from consumers as justification. BBC News reported on January 21, 2020 that the company’s head of sustainability talked about customers’ preferences for the plastic bottles because of their light weight and ability to be resealed. The company representative also spoke about how completely removing plastic from the company’s packaging could alienate consumers and damage sales, and they voiced concern that shifting to aluminum and glass packaging would increase the company’s carbon footprint. Coca-Cola has instead decided to focus on recycling and set a target of using 50% recycled material in all its packaging by 2030 and to recycle as many plastic bottles as it uses within the same time frame.

“Business won’t be in business if we don’t accommodate consumers,” Coca-Cola’s representative said. “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.” The BBC wrote that the company produces three million tonnes of plastic packaging per year, which is the equivalent of 200,000 bottles per minute.

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Daniel Thomas (January 21, 2020). “Davos 2020: People still want plastic bottles, says Coca-Cola.” BBC

Olivia Rosane (January 23, 2020). “Coca-Cola Says It Won’t Break Free From Plastic Bottles.” EcoWatch

Lillianna Byington (January 27, 2020). “Coca-Cola says it won’t ban plastic bottles because consumers like them.EcoWatch