Coca Cola installs one millionth HFC-free drinks cooler

Company says $100 million investment is equal to removing one million cars from roads every year

(Pic: Puzzlescript/Flickr)

(Pic: Puzzlescript/Flickr)

Coca Cola says it has installed one million drinks coolers that use natural refrigerants, replacing the climate warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) previously used.

A company statement claims that when combined, this is equal to taking 10 million cars off the road over a 10 year period.

“Over the past decade we have invested more than $100 million to make our coolers better for the environment,” Coke’s Jeff Seabright, Vice President, Environment & Water said.

HFCs are part of a family of potent greenhouse gases with a warming potential hundreds to thousands more than carbon dioxide, which can last for up to 50 years in the atmosphere.

Demand soared after countries agreed to phase out the ozone damaging gases traditionally used in refridgeration units under the 1989 Montreal Protocol.

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The news was welcomed by Clare Perry from the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which has actively campaigned for tougher action against HFCs.

“This news is particularly timely given that the European Union has recently agreed a new Regulation to cut HFC emissions in Europe while at the same time talks of a global deal to address HFCs are gathering momentum,” she said.

“This is an important milestone which unequivocally demonstrates the business case for HFC-free technologies. We commend Coca-Cola on its efforts to reduce HFC emissions.”

Unlike many other greenhouse gases, fluorinated gases have no natural sources and only come from human-related activities.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) emissions are projected to grow by nearly 140% between 2005 and 2020 as demand for coolers continue to grow.

Efforts to reduce the global use of HFCs through UN channels have proved largely unsuccessful, with fierce arguments over what forum discussion should take place in.

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At the last round of UN climate talks Greenpeace, PepsiCo, Red Bull, Coca-Cola and Unilever issued a statement calling on new investment in ‘natural refridgerants’ like carbon dioxide, which they say are now economically viable.

“Natural refrigerant based technologies have been commercially available for many years now and will continue to penetrate the market,” they said.

“To multiply these experiences and further accelerate their market uptake globally, strong commitment from political decision makers is needed.

“An international agreement to use the expertise and the institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs would be an important step towards a phase-down and eventual phase-out of these substances.”


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