Coca-Cola introduces recyclable paperboard rings on its multi-packs

31 Aug 2020

As a result of its effort to remove all unnecessary hard to recycle plastic from its portfolio in Western Europe, Coca-Cola is introducing a paperboard packaging alternative called CanCollar in Spain.

The sustainably-sourced paperboard packaging that is Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification-certified contains no glue or adhesives and will debut in the Balearic Islands this November.

Coca-Cola introduces recyclable paperboard rings on its multi-packs
Photo Courtesy of Coca Cola

Joe Franses, the vice president of sustainability with Coca-Cola European Partners, the soda giant’s bottling partner said, “By the end of 2020, we will have removed more than 4,000 tons of hard-to-recycle plastic from our secondary packaging in Western Europe.” Coca-Cola European Partners is working in partnership with the beverage manufacturer on this initiative and invested €2.6 million into its Barcelona plant to install the requisite machinery to enable the packaging of cans with this new technology.

Coca-Cola has committed to omitting 11,000 tons of virgin plastic per year from its portfolio in the region. This CanCollar solution will replace the current Hi-cone packaging and save more than 18 tons of plastic annually, according to the Atlanta-based corporation.

Sustainable packaging has become a focus for many companies globally as consumers search for more environmentally-minded corporations to support with their wallets. In response, major food companies, including Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars, Coca-Cola, Mondelez and Danone have committed to reimagining their packaging to be more sustainable. Although the promises are inked on paper, many corporations have found it difficult to devise sustainable solutions that are able to withstand temperature shifts and transportation to keep food fresh. One of the few avenues that companies have found ready success is in bottle packaging.

Danish brewing company Carlsberg scrapped its plastic rings in favor of binding its cans together using a glue. The company said that this will reduce the amount of plastic used by 76%. Since then, the company has invested in prototype technology that would allow the brewery to bottle its beer in a sustainable, bio-based, fully recyclable bottle.

Nestlé too has put its money where its mouth is when it comes to beverages when it announced early this year that it planned to spend 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.1 billion) to shift away from virgin plastic to food-grade recycled plastic alternatives. Additionally, the Swiss conglomerate announced it would start a 250 million Swiss francs ($260 million) venture fund to invest in start-ups focusing on sustainable packaging.

In July, Frugalpac, a British sustainable packaging company launched the first wine bottle made from 94% recycled paperboard. The Italian vineyard Cantina Goccia will be the first company to use this packaging solution.

Switching to a more sustainable form of packaging is not only a way for companies to acknowledge their consumers – nearly half of which in the U.S. are likely to alter their shopping choices to buy what meets environmental standards, according to a 2018 survey from Nielsen – but it is also beneficial for corporations’ bottom lines. Package waste represents an annual loss of $80 billion to $120 billion for the global economy, according to the World Economic Forum. Cleaning up packaging portfolios will represent a large savings for these companies that are scrambling as the pandemic continues to upend the food and beverage industry.

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