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The Coca-Cola Company

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The Coca-Cola Company are looking for solutions to minimize yellowing and improve the recyclability of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Network Summary

Background

The Coca-Cola Company set out to refresh the world - in mind, body and spirit – and to inspire moments of optimism through their brands and actions. They are the world’s leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of non-alcoholic drink concentrates and syrups and are responsible for more than 500 brands globally.

Challenge

The Coca-Cola Company are looking for solutions to minimize yellowing and improve the recyclability of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are widely used for beverages and household items. PET is fully recyclable and currently majority of recycled material is being used for fiber production while bottle to bottle recycling is on the increase. 

One of the approaches is what is called mechanical recycling wherein bottles after consumer use are collected, ground into flakes, washed, decontaminated through proprietary technology either as flake or as re-pelletized material and in some cases solid stated to the required IV for re-use.

One of the key challenges in using recycled material is color development (yellowing) that occurs in recycled PET from contaminants such as PVC, glue etc. as well as inherent degradation of polymer chain. PET being a polyester is sensitive to degradation – light degradation during storage because of UV exposure when stored outside as bales, followed by further thermal and oxidative degradation that occurs during melt processing.

This color development (yellowing – high b value) in PET during repeated thermal processing can limit the amount of recycled content that can be incorporated in a package.

A current approach is to mask the yellow color with blue or green toners and while this works to a certain extent, it causes the resin to become dark (lower L value). It would be useful if an additive (food safe) that can be incorporated during the thermal processing that can inhibit the formation of conjugated double bonds and thus help minimize yellowing.

What's in it for you?

A successful collaboration could mean, for individuals, becoming part of the wider Coca-Cola group, while for organisations, forming a partnership/joint venture to co-develop and co-launch the idea to market.

This is a global challenge and The Coca-Cola Company are willing to collaborate with both individuals/freelancers and other industry participants/universities etc. and solutions can be at any stage of development, from concept to market-ready.

If you have or are developing solutions in this area and would like us to put your solution in front of The Coca-Cola Company, please click "Apply" to submit your solution to the Network.

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