SOUTH AFRICA – Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) has announced plans to introduce new 1.25l returnable glass bottles that align with its sustainability and transparency goals.

“We are changing our Returnable Glass Bottles (1,25l) to make them more eco-friendly with paper labels and reusable across all the brands we make,” CCBA said in a LinkedIn post.

“Clear glass in standardized shapes is reusable and easier to recycle. The paper label allows us to list all ingredients and give dietary information to our consumers and it is easier to recycle.”

The move comes a few months since Coca-Cola changed its f Sprite bottles to a clear PET (polyethylene terephthalate), marking a historic shift from the green-colored plastic bottle, which has been its identity since 1960 when it was first launched.

“This shift from the iconic green bottle means more Sprite bottles can be collected, recycled and reused to make new items, in line with Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste vision,” Coca-Cola said at the time.

The latest transition also aligns with the company’s vision to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells by 2030, as well as use 50% recycled content in all its packaging.

The addition of paper to the glass bottles to provide more information to consumers comes close to two years after the company was taken to court in Kenya for not availing the information on its glass bottles.

Mr. Mark Ndumia Ndung’u, the plaintiff, accused the Coca-Cola company, together with Nairobi Bottlers, of discriminating against their consumers of drinks in glass bottles since they do not have nutritional information.

He argued that while the plastic and glass bottles are the same size, which means it is possible to provide the relevant information on both, Coca-Cola uses the space on its glass bottles to print its name in big print.

In its defense, Coca-Cola explained that when drinks are available in both plastic and glass bottles, it is up to the consumer to choose.

It also argued that the judge wrongly interpreted the right to equality, and also failed to take into consideration the principle that not every differentiation amounts to unfair discrimination.

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