Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, has announced that it is funding CuRe Technology – a recycling start-up that seeks to provide a new life for difficult to recycle plastic polyester waste.

The funding from CCEP, through its innovation investment fund CCEP Ventures, will apparently enable CuRe to accelerate its “polyester rejuvenation” technology from pilot plant to commercial readiness. Once the technology is commercialised, CCEP will receive the majority of the output from a CuRe-licensed, new-build plant.

Once operational, CCEP says that CuRe has the potential to support its ambition, in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe, to eliminate virgin oil-based PET from its PET bottles within the next decade.

The company projects that this will contribute to removing a total of over 200,000 tonnes of virgin oil-based PET from CCEP’s packaging portfolio per year.

CuRe Technology – a start-up created by a consortium of world-leading recycling innovators and experts, and led by the Morssinkhof Group and the Cumapol/DuFor Group, with strategic partners DSM-Niaga and NHL Stenden University of Applied Science – will reportedly initially apply its end-to-end partial depolymerisation recycling process to transform opaque and difficult to recycle (ODR) food-grade PET to high quality recycled PET (rPET) that can be used again for food and drink packaging in one continuous process on the same site.

CuRe Technology uses a partial depolymerisation process – shortening the polymer chains just enough to allow the removal of impurities and to rejuvenate food-grade PET to high-quality rPET. CCEP says that it can be less energy-intensive than full depolymerisation, offering lower associated CO2 emissions. 

The CuRe funding from CCEP Ventures builds on existing strategic investments by The Coca-Cola Company to explore and support the scaling of ‘enhanced’ full depolymerisation recycling technologies, with the goal of making a circular economy for PET a reality.

Joe Franses, vice president of sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners said: “CuRe is an exciting technology start-up with transformational potential developed by an experienced consortium, making it an ideal investment for CCEP Ventures.

"Our investment in CuRe underlines our commitment to supporting innovations that have the potential to drive growth in our business and our sustainable packaging goals. It also offers us the potential to access vital rPET volumes that will help to accelerate the delivery of our 100% rPET ambition for our PET bottles.”