A new report shows that a 10 percentage-point increase in reusable beverage packaging by 2030 could eliminate over 1 trillion single-use plastic bottles and cups.
The report, produced by ocean advocacy group Oceana, says this 10 percentage-point increase in reusable beverage packaging would prevent up to 153 billion single-use plastic containers from entering the world’s oceans and waterways.
Commenting on the report, Matt Littlejohn, Oceana’s Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, said: “We’ve spent too much time chasing circular fantasies while huge amounts of plastic continue to flood into our oceans.
“We’ve estimated that a stack of the single-use plastic packaging used by the beverage sector in 2022 alone could reach all the way to the sun and back. Adding recycled content to bottles and cups won’t topple this single-use plastic tower. The way to really make a difference is to replace single-use plastic with reusable packaging.”
The report says other ideas “more heavily promoted by beverage companies”, such as adding more recycled content to plastic bottles are not geared toward reducing single-use plastic containers by design, and cannot match the impact of reuse.
We’ve spent too much time chasing circular fantasies while huge amounts of plastic continue to flood into our oceans.
There is also a “significant presence” of large-scale reusable packaging systems around the world, including in the Philippines where 40% of the volume of all packaged non-alcoholic beverages sold are in reusable bottles, the report says.
The report highlights several large-scale reusable cup systems currently available in the United States and Europe, including TURN, r.World and Re-uz. These systems have already been adopted by organisations such as Live Nation, which recently announced it is shifting to the TURN reusable cup system at major concerts and venues, Oceana says.
Dr. Dana Miller, Oceana’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, commented: “Companies have a responsibility to increase reusable packaging in place of single-use packaging.
“Our seas can’t wait. We need real proven solutions, like reuse, that can reduce single-use plastic and marine plastic pollution at scale right now.”