Coca-cola has unveiled what it claims to be the first bottle made using discarded plastic washed up from the oceans.
Volunteers collected plastic waste from 84 beaches in Spain and Portugal which was combined with similar waste captured by trawlers in the Mediterranean and then put through ‘enhanced recycling’.
This chemical process enables lower-grade plastic to be stripped of impurities and brought back to ‘virgin grade’ so it can once again be used for food and drink packaging.
Plastic recycling rates have soared following greater public awareness of the threat to the world’s oceans, but much of it currently ends up being incinerated, or exported and kept in illegal dumps.
While only a quarter of the plastic in the initial batch of 300 bottles made by Coca-Cola is sourced from marine debris, the company says it wants all its products to be sold in packaging made from recycled or ‘renewable’ material.
It claims the objective will cut its use of virgin plastic by 200,000 tons a year, underlining the progress of the Daily Mail’s Turn The Tide On Plastic campaign.
It comes as the Treasury presses ahead with the world’s first plastic tax which would set a levy on manufacturers that fail to include 30 per cent recycled content.
Tim Brett of Coca-Cola said: ‘Too many of the world’s finite resources are currently discarded as waste.
‘We know we need to do more to correct this. There is a valuable role for packaging, but it must always be collected, recycled and reused.’
Coca-Cola, whose other brands include Fanta and Sprite, says it hopes consumers will start to see bottles made with plastic using enhanced recycling technology on the shelves by next year.
The Mail led a campaign calling for a charge on plastic bags which has hugely reduced the number given out by supermarkets each year.
It has also successfully called for a ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics, and is campaigning for a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.