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FIFA World Cup: Coca-Cola launches 100% recycled PET bottles to promote Qatari recycling

November 27, 2022
Chemical Value Chain

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and Coca‑Cola Middle East have introduced 100% recycled PET (rPET) bottles for Coca‑Cola’s range of beverages across official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 venues, including stadiums and fan zones.

Aligning with the SC’s key initiatives on responsible plastic recycling, Coca‑Cola Middle East’s pilot of 100% rPET bottles marks the first time the packaging will be in circulation at a FIFA World Cup tournament and serves as Coca‑Cola’s debut in locally producing the bottles in the region.

As part of this pilot initiative, 350ml Coca‑Cola, Sprite and Fanta bottles, plus 500ml Arwa water bottles, will be available in 100% rPET packaging.

Eng. Bodour Al Meer, the SC’s sustainability executive director, remarks: “In addition to our One Tide program, the pilot of Coca‑Cola Middle East’s 100% rPET bottles will significantly reduce the impact of single-use plastics and aligns to our concerted efforts to leave a sustainable legacy long after the FIFA World Cup 2022.”

Qatar’s waste crisis
Qatar is counted among the world’s fastest-growing economies. Municipal solid waste management is one of the most severe challenges faced by the small Gulf nation on account of high population growth rate, urbanization, industrial growth and economic expansion.

The country has one of the highest per capita waste generation rates worldwide, as high as 1.8 kg per day. Qatar produces more than 2.5 million metric tons of municipal solid waste each year. Solid waste stream is mainly comprised of organic materials (around 60%) while the rest of the waste stream is made up of recyclables like glass, paper, metals and plastics, explains EcoMENA, a volunteer-driven initiative to create environmental awareness in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Tolga Cebe, vice president and general manager Middle East, The Coca‑Cola Company, says: “Piloting the 100% rPET bottles for our Coca‑Cola, Sprite and Fanta beverages and Arwa water during the tournament marks a major milestone for our operations in the region.”

“It is an important step toward our global World Without Waste ambition to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one sold by 2030. For Coca‑Cola Middle East, this is part of a journey, and we aim to continue to champion waste collection projects and minimize our impact through local partnerships and initiatives.”

Raising awareness
In addition to the 100% rPET bottles, Coca‑Cola Middle East says it has placed dedicated recycling bins across FIFA World Cup 2022 venues and will educate more than 20,000 volunteers and one million fans on responsible recycling through its on-ground and on-screen communication, ensuring recyclable plastic waste is placed in the right bins for further repurposing.

The SC is also announcing that plastic bottles segregated and collected during the tournament will be recycled and converted into rPET bottles in-country, effectively closing the loop on the tournament’s packaging– one of the SC’s key objectives. This was greatly supported by Coca‑Cola Middle East’s efforts.

Through this initiative and the SC’s One Tide program, the country says it is taking strides to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated in the country and across the region.

“Our immediate objective is to raise awareness of this issue and help people in Qatar – and globally – reduce their reliance on single-use plastics and encourage [environmentally] sustainable behaviors,” Al Meer adds.

Pollution news
The Coca‑Cola Company has had a long-standing relationship with FIFA since 1976 and has been an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup since 1978.

After a controversial sponsorship of COP27 earlier this month, Coca-Cola was named the worst plastic polluter five years in a row, according to 2022 Break Free From Plastic’s latest global brand audit report.

The top three contenders were The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Nestlé, all of whom have maintained their top positions for five years. The creators of the audit said the aim of the report is to expose how voluntary corporate commitments are not effectively reducing companies’ environmental footprints.

More Coca-Cola Company branded items were collected than the next two top polluters combined. This year’s brand audits found more than 31,000 Coca-Cola branded products, doubling the proportion of Coca-Cola products in 2018.

By Natalie Schwertheim


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