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Coke, Amazon Appear to Lead the Way with Sustainable Packaging Improvements

Coca-Cola and Amazon are leading the way in terms of sustainable packaging strides, according to the buzz leading up to Interpack trade fair in Germany this week.

Coke’s bio-based PlantBottle, 100% bio-based recyclable container, is leading the buzz, per Packaging Digest. Coke’s sustainable packaging lead, Sarah Dearman, says sourcing plays a key role in the company’s new sustainable packaging strategy and advancements in PlantBottle packaging. Coca-Cola and Virent produced the world’s first PET plastic bottle made entirely from plant materials in 2015 — but at demonstration scale. Coca-Cola has been producing a partially bio-based PlantBottle since 2009.

Dearman told Packaging Digest that the company is now working on reducing the cost of using renewable materials through technologies that will allow Coke to use a larger variety of feedstocks. This will enable the company to locally source feedstocks, which will help to further reduce carbon emissions in its supply chain. To understand the environmental impacts, the company conducts lifecycle assessments on its packaging, as well as partnering with organizations such as World Wildlife Fund and the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance for insight.

Amazon’s Packaging Certification Guidelines have also been a hot topic within the sustainable packaging industry. Amazon says its Frustration Free Packaging eliminated nearly 83 million corrugated boxes last year, and that the company now has 1.1 million items available in certified packaging. In terms of moving the needle on an industry that offers packaging that’s good for companies as well as the environment, Amazon’s senior manager of worldwide packaging Brent Nelson told Packaging Digest that the most important thing is that companies work together to educate the industry on the impact of sustainable packaging on customer satisfaction and on cost savings.

Amazon began its Frustration Free Packaging program in 2008.

Ikea and Target are other retailers that have recently pledged to reduce packaging and cut out harmful packaging materials.

Scientists estimate that oceans already contain 150 million tons of plastic, with 8 million tons added every year. And according to ellenmacarthurfoundation.org, oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050 if action isn’t taken quickly to dramatically reduce the flow of plastics into waterways.

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