First Refillable Cups Made From Plants Available At SeaWorld Parks

22 Jul 2014

The first refillable plastic cup made from plant-based materials is now available in all SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks across the U.S. The reusable, 100 per cent recyclable plastic cup is manufactured using bespoke PlantBottle packaging technology from the company's beverage partner, Coca-Cola.

"Working together, our two companies are using our resources and reach to inspire people to make a difference," said SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Corporate Vice President of Culinary Operations Andrew Ngo. "Our friends at The Coca-Cola Company share our commitment to conservation, our passion for the planet, and our innovative approach to consumer experiences.  Even more important, this appeals to our guests, who expect and reward recycling and sustainability."

PlantBottle packaging swaps traditional plastic resins with natural sugars found in plants.  Fewer fossil-based ingredients mean a smaller carbon footprint. SeaWorld’s switch to PlantBottle plastic in its refillable cups is expected to remove 35 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually -- the equivalent of saving more than 80 barrels of oil a year.

The unique PlantBottle technology is popular packaging for Coca-Cola’s bottled beverages. SeaWorld takes this technology to a new level, creating the first commercially available consumer product: a refillable plastic cup.

Since The Coca-Cola Company introduced PlantBottle technology in 2009 as the first recyclable PET plastic bottle made partially from plants, more than 450,000 barrels of oil have been saved.  And, more than 20 billion PlantBottle packages have been distributed in 31 countries worldwide.

"Once we fully realised the power of PlantBottle technology, we knew it had real-world, global applications well beyond our own products," said Scott Vitters, general manager, PlantBottle packaging platform, The Coca-Cola Company.  "This collaboration with SeaWorld demonstrates that PlantBottle technology can be applied anywhere that PET plastic is traditionally used, but with a lighter footprint on the planet.”

Colourful in-park murals and point-of-purchase displays promoting environmental advocacy will help inform park guests of the new product.

SeaWorld eventually plans to use Coca-Cola's PlantBottle technology in the manufacture of many of its souvenir cups and is actively exploring opportunities for its potential use in the development of other merchandise.

SeaWorld and Coca-Cola have also partnered on two other initiatives that promote conservation and sustainability:

  • In 2013 SeaWorld introduced the Cup That Cares -- a reusable cup with an embedded RFID chip that interacts with Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers in the theme parks and calculates the amount of carbon guests keep from the environment by refilling their cups.
  • All fountain drinks are served in paper cups made from 85 percent renewable resources. This is a sizeable commitment: 14.6 million paper cups are used each year throughout the company's 11 theme parks.
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