Empty bottles and aluminum cans also matter, even competitor products!

Creating a circular economy is a common goal for all of us. However, this can only be achieved through joint efforts and if the packaging waste goes to the right bins. These beliefs inspired Coca-Cola’s “Empty Bottles Also Matter” campaign, which raise awareness about the various packaging materials, including their characteristics and recycling methods, to encourage selective waste collection. According to the beverage company, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Coca-Cola or other brands, plastic bottles or aluminum cans, beverage packaging can only be recycled if they won’t end up in nature as waste. That is why the company placed selective bins not only next to its own vending machines in Hungarian shopping malls, but also next to the ones of its competitors.

Coca-Cola's portfolio includes both plastic bottles and aluminum cans as well as glass and carton (Tetra Pak) packaging. Launched in January, the company’s “Empty Bottles Also Matter” campaign includes sharing information about various packaging materials and asking consumers to help them recycle. No company can create a more sustainable future alone, this can only be achieved through a wider cooperation. Regardless of brand, sustainability is a common goal. The company aims to draw attention to this with the campaign’s new action: selective bins have been placed in several shopping malls in Budapest, not only next to Coca-Cola’s own products, but also next to its competitors' vending machines.

Communication is particularly important in the future of sustainability and circular economy – as evidenced by the currently nearly 2,000 and ever-growing number of comments and suggestions received from consumers under Coca-Cola’s social media posts. The company can incorporate this feedback into its further developments while also providing consumers with information on packaging waste and recycling opportunities. The great interest in the topic is also confirmed by the fact that Coca-Cola's prize draw on, which lasts until the 31st of March, performs much better than previous similar code-uploading games launched in a different topic. Participants can learn more about recycling on the site and registration is only possible if they vote in favor of selective collection. Coca-Cola has also found a way to ensure that materials used for its billboards won’t be disposed of as single-use waste. They made bags from the building nets of a previous campaign, and customers can soon win these as well.

Meanwhile, the beverage company is working towards a more sustainable operation in several areas: they introduced a paper bottle prototype made in collaboration with the Danish startup company Paboco, which expected to debut during the summer and will be tested in Hungary first together with consumers. In addition, the Zero Waste Tisza River project continues in cooperation with the Plastic Cup – the two-year goal of collecting 80 tonnes of waste was almost met last year. The program is still important, as the Tisza is currently flooding, transporting a large amount of municipal waste, which mainly endangers the upper areas of the river.

As part of the project funded by The Coca-Cola Global Foundation, the Plastic Cup team is also investigating for how long and to where the bottles are floating in Hungary's rivers. They made three transmitter bottles for this, which were put on water at Bodrog after they put a GPS chip, a radio transmitter, and a battery in them as well as a project description in five languages. Four more GPS bottles will be released into the river soon.