Coca-Cola HBC has invested €12 million to open a new high-speed returnable glass bottling (RGB) line at its plant in Edelstal, Austria, which will produce 400ml returnable and resealable glass bottles.
Coca-Cola HBC says the plant’s RGB line is the first across its 29 markets and is aimed at the on-the-go market and at-home consumption.
The €12 million investment from Coca-Cola HBC was supported by a €4 million grant from the Austrian government as part of its fund for beverage companies and retailers to enable a “true circular economy” for packaging.
The investment in the new line, which the beverage giant says is more water- and energy-efficient, is part of Coca-Cola HBC’s plan to achieve net zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2040. The company says it has already reduced Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 30% in the last 12 years and packaging accounts for 34% of Scope 3 emissions in Coca-Cola HBC’s total supply chain.
The new line expands the range of returnable products in the Coca-Cola HBC portfolio to include Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar – Fanta Orange and Sprite are also available in 1-litre returnable glass bottles.
Coca-Cola HBC says the universal 1-litre bottle design for different sparkling soft drink brands helps simplify production and reduces the sorting and reverse logistics in the market. Expanding this packaging type also helps customers meet quotas for returnable packaging in retail, which is due to be introduced by 2024, Coca-Cola HBC says.
For some years now, Coca-Cola HBC Austria has been at the forefront of pioneering new sustainable solutions.
Other developments Coca-Cola HBC is implementing include piloting Compact Freestyle® drinks dispensing machines. These offer consumers packaging-free options of 40 beverage choices, which the company says delivers up to 70% less emissions compared to PET.
Coca-Cola HBC also says it has transitioned its market in Austria to 100% recycled PET bottles for products produced locally for sale and replaced shrink-wrap packaging with cardboard for multipack cans.
The shrink wrap solution, called KeelClipTM, is now live in all 22 EU markets and Coca-Cola HBC says it will save approximately 2,600 tonnes of plastic from its supply chain in 2022.
Coca-Cola HBC CEO, Zoran Bogdanovic, commented: “For some years now, Coca-Cola HBC Austria has been at the forefront of pioneering new sustainable solutions, and we’re delighted that our focus on investment, innovation and partnerships are helping us to meet our goal of delivering our drinks in more sustainable ways.
“Austria is already one of our fastest-growing markets for reusable packaging and this new line will further accelerate this packaging type, which is in demand by our customers and consumers alike. As returnable packaging options offer a reduced carbon footprint, this new line in Austria further supports our Net Zero by 2040 goal.”