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People still want plastic bottles, says Coca-Cola

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Coca-Cola will not ditch single-use plastic bottles because consumers still want them, the firm’s head of sustainability has told the BBC.

Customers like them because they reseal and are lightweight, said Bea Perez.

The firm, which is one of the world’s biggest plastic waste polluters, has pledged to recycle as many plastic bottles as it uses by 2030.

But environmental campaigners argue many Coke bottles would still go uncollected and end up in landfill.

In the war on plastic is Coca-Cola friend or foe?

The drinks giant produces about three million tonnes of plastic packaging a year – equivalent to 200,000 bottles a minute.

In 2019, it was found to be the most polluting brand in a global audit of plastic waste by the charity Break Free from Plastic.

But speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ms Perez said the firm recognised it now had to be “part of the solution”.

‘Accommodate consumers’

Coke has pledged to use at least 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030. It is also partnering with NGOs around the world to help improve collection.

However, Ms Perez said the firm could not ditch plastic outright, as some campaigners wanted, saying this could alienate customers and hit sales.

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

Ms Perez said she respected the idealism of youth activists, such as 19-year-old campaigner Melati Wijsen, who with her sister Isabel, convinced the island of Bali to ban single-use plastic bags, straws and styrofoam last year.

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Image caption

Isabel and Melati Wijsen convinced Bali to ban single-use plastic bags, straws and styrofoam

Such plastics were clogging up the seas around Bali, harming marine life.

Ms Perez also said she agreed with calls for Coca Cola to reach its environmental goals sooner than 2030 – although she would not say whether she would step down if the plans failed.

“We have to reach this goal and we will – there’s no question.”

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By Laura Price

Laura is the senior writer and Smartphones section editor responsible for managing software updates and smartphones section. She is very passionate about Gadgets & Technology and always looking around to use them in an innovative way in daily life. She reviews Gadgets & Applications to tell users about their optimum use to get the most out of in which they’ve put their time and hard earned money.
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