21 votes

Coca-Cola reveals that it produces 3.3M tons of plastic packaging annually

16 comments

  1. [14]
    Thrabalen Link
    The true issue here is not that Coca-Cola (or any business) produces a ridiculous amount of plastic, it's that we haven't replaced plastic with a biodegradable material that does what plastic...

    The true issue here is not that Coca-Cola (or any business) produces a ridiculous amount of plastic, it's that we haven't replaced plastic with a biodegradable material that does what plastic does. It's light, durable, often see-through, and resilient. Indeed, the durability and resiliency work against it.

    We need to find a material that can replace plastic, because it's honestly one of a kind right now. And there's no way we're just going to stop buying things.

    11 votes
    1. [5]
      Adys Link Parent
      And: extremely cheap and easy to produce. People too often forget that ecologically, producing plastic can be more eco-friendly than producing an equivalent amount of biodegradable alternatives...

      It's light, durable, often see-through, and resilient.

      And: extremely cheap and easy to produce. People too often forget that ecologically, producing plastic can be more eco-friendly than producing an equivalent amount of biodegradable alternatives (=> requires more power to produce, more power to extract the resources, more complex machinery in general, recycling requires power as well, …).

      What I'm saying is maybe more people should play Factorio. :)

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        Octofox Link Parent
        The answer is to consume less stuff. This could be done by drinking less soft drink or by using glass bottles that get returned to the seller to be refilled.

        The answer is to consume less stuff. This could be done by drinking less soft drink or by using glass bottles that get returned to the seller to be refilled.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          Adys Link Parent
          A good example of something that sounds good on paper, but isn't actually free. Glass is heavy. Bottles need to be cleaned and usually recycled before they can be reused. What do you think is more...

          glass bottles that get returned to the seller to be refilled

          A good example of something that sounds good on paper, but isn't actually free.

          Glass is heavy. Bottles need to be cleaned and usually recycled before they can be reused. What do you think is more efficient in terms of energy, the few millidrops of oil and tiny amount of power required for a new plastic bottle, or the entire recycling process of a glass bottle?

          BTW to be clear, I don't know the answer to that. Could be recycling glass is more efficient. But the key is that the answer isn't obvious, so even "produce less waste" is not necessarily the answer.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Octofox Link Parent
            I didn't say recycling the glass, I meant that the same bottle is refilled. They are recycled now but thats wrong. Perhaps an ideal solution would be to bring your own bottle to the store and then...

            I didn't say recycling the glass, I meant that the same bottle is refilled. They are recycled now but thats wrong. Perhaps an ideal solution would be to bring your own bottle to the store and then fill it there and you get charged by the amount you fill it.

            1 vote
            1. Adys Link Parent
              A refilled bottle is probably even harder to reuse than a recycled one. It still needs to be thoroughly cleaned for health&safety reasons. It can't be chipped/broken/leaky. And it's a lot more...

              A refilled bottle is probably even harder to reuse than a recycled one. It still needs to be thoroughly cleaned for health&safety reasons. It can't be chipped/broken/leaky. And it's a lot more fragile to transport than broken glass.

    2. [3]
      hamstergeddon Link Parent
      I can't help but feel like the move from glass bottling to plastic bottling is largely to blame for this. Glass wasn't biodegradable in the way you're describing, but it is both durable and...

      I can't help but feel like the move from glass bottling to plastic bottling is largely to blame for this. Glass wasn't biodegradable in the way you're describing, but it is both durable and relatively easy to break down into smaller pieces, lessening their impact on environment and space needed in landfills. Not to mention that glass bottling was treated as a reusable product in a way that plastic bottling never has.

      I agree that biodegradable materials are the way forward, but it's frustrating that such a big step backwards took place just to save money.

      3 votes
      1. Rocket_Man Link Parent
        At least for bottling I imagine glass composites could make bottles extremely strong and durable. But without the infrastructure that let us reuse bottles it's not worth it.

        At least for bottling I imagine glass composites could make bottles extremely strong and durable. But without the infrastructure that let us reuse bottles it's not worth it.

        2 votes
      2. Thrabalen Link Parent
        I grew up in the 80s, I'm old enough to remember New Coke's initial run. They paid a token amount of lip service to reusability. They offered 5 cents per bottle turned in... provided you could...

        I grew up in the 80s, I'm old enough to remember New Coke's initial run. They paid a token amount of lip service to reusability. They offered 5 cents per bottle turned in... provided you could find someplace that would pony up the cash. Glass was as disposable as plastic, but admittedly there's not a ginormous island of glass in the Pacific.

    3. Jehosephat Link Parent
      You hit the nail on the head there, and I don't know that any new material changes it: The things we like about plastic are the same things that make it so harmful to our environment....

      You hit the nail on the head there, and I don't know that any new material changes it: The things we like about plastic are the same things that make it so harmful to our environment. Biodegradability tends to imply less durability by definition.

      1 vote
    4. [4]
      nsz Link Parent
      Well it is kind of coca-cloa's fault, it's a pretty poor excuse to just scapegoat a lack of technology. Coke has worked pretty dam hard to frame their product as the complete premium thing,...

      Well it is kind of coca-cloa's fault, it's a pretty poor excuse to just scapegoat a lack of technology.

      Coke has worked pretty dam hard to frame their product as the complete premium thing, plastic bottle and all. The margins are just so much better when you can sell the bottle along with the liquid. The alternative, thinner/cheaper plastic, think of any off brand soft drink, refill stations or concentrate. Non of these solutions jive with the image coke has cultivated for themselves, the magnitude of this plastic waist is absolutely their fault.

      1. [3]
        Thrabalen Link Parent
        Any business will go with whatever's most effective at delivering their product. If there were a better material, they'd use it. That's how they started using plastic in the first place.

        Any business will go with whatever's most effective at delivering their product. If there were a better material, they'd use it. That's how they started using plastic in the first place.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          nsz Link Parent
          That's circular logic, make plastic bottles appealing so now we have to use plastic bottles because it's effective. This is not a technology problem is my point. Coke has worked hard to sell...

          That's circular logic, make plastic bottles appealing so now we have to use plastic bottles because it's effective. This is not a technology problem is my point. Coke has worked hard to sell consumer on the idea that soft drinks have to be delivered in a small plastic bottle and you need a new one every time. Why do they not offer glass bottles that are collected and refilled, or refilling stations, or any number of other delivery methods. My point; these do not fit the coke image and it's a conscious choice to continue pushing small individual plastic bottles because that's where the money is.

          1. Thrabalen Link Parent
            They did use glass bottles, and they weren't collected and refilled very much. This is not a Coca-cola problem, this is a consumer problem, period. It's all walks of business. Plastic televisions,...

            They did use glass bottles, and they weren't collected and refilled very much. This is not a Coca-cola problem, this is a consumer problem, period. It's all walks of business. Plastic televisions, plastic clothes hangers, plastic toys, plastic cups, plastic windows in our boxes so we can see the object we're buying and then we go up the plastic register and pay with plastic.

  2. euphoria066 Link
    Why does no one drink coke in cans? I mean, I do, and I know other people do too.. that question was facetious. Lets get rid of drink bottles completely. Most of the drinks ALREADY also come in...

    Why does no one drink coke in cans?

    I mean, I do, and I know other people do too.. that question was facetious. Lets get rid of drink bottles completely. Most of the drinks ALREADY also come in cans.

    Aluminum is infinitely recyclable. Recycling aluminum isn't carbon neutral or anything, but it's one of the better recyclable materials we have in actual widespread usage. It's light, it's durable, it's corrosion resistant, it's not as fragile as glass, it doesn't need to be sanitized and refilled, it has a good return rate in cities where deposit programs exist because it's the best material for someone else "mining" from your garbage and returning. It is infinitely recyclable with no loss in quality.

    I feel like we always end up getting bogged down in discussions about glass, or a theoretical plastic that biodegrades faster. And while they're valuable avenues to explore, we already have aluminum drink cans! They're a proven plastic-free alternative you can already get at your grocery store!

    1 vote
  3. retiredrugger Link
    What a disgusting amount of waste.

    What a disgusting amount of waste.

    3 votes