Returning glass fizzy drink bottles for a small deposit for cash has been around for decades in South Africa and now – finally – you can do the same with plastic bottles, while helping to save the environment.
Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) announced it’s rolling out returnable 2-litre plastic bottles to more parts of the country after a successful pilot in the Eastern Cape last year.
Returnable bottles will now also be available in Northern Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. More provinces will be added over a five-year period.
Each returnable bottle has the word ‘RETURNABLE’ printed on a small green strip on the front side of the bottle label. For each bottle you return, you get a R9 deposit, meaning if it costs R20, you’ll ultimately only pay R11.
Once a bottle is returned to CCBSA, it goes on a looped journey to be cleaned as per Coca-Cola’s stringent measures and requirements, then is refilled to start its next lifecycle. When the bottle reaches the end of its useable lifecycle, it joins the recycling value chain and is repurposed into another PET (polyethylene terephthalate) product.
“The consumer response to the new 2-litre returnable PET bottles has been overwhelmingly positive. We have seen customers in the Eastern Cape opting to switch over to purchasing the returnable bottles and returning them after consumption. After each bottle reaches the end of its useable lifecycle, it joins a regional manufacturing value chain which ultimately means less pollution in the environment,” said CCBSA MD Velaphi Ratshefola.
“We’re committed to increasing recycled material in our packaging and ensuring more packaging is collected and recycled. The roll-out of returnable PET plastic bottles is another way we can support a circular economy in South Africa.”