Coca-Cola to replace plastic shrink wrap with paper packaging across Europe

Coca-Cola and its European bottling partners will remove shrink wrap from its can multipacks, to be replaced with a €15m (£12.8m) investment into a paper-based packaging solution by the end of 2021.

Coca-Cola to replace plastic shrink wrap with paper packaging across Europe

In September

Coca-Cola and it’s strategic bottling partners Coca-Cola HBC and Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) are investing €15m in KeelClip, a paperboard packaging solution from Graphic Packaging International that will phase-out shrink wrap on can multipacks.

Coca-Cola HBC will remove shrink wrap from all of its can multipacks in all European Union markets by the end of 2021 with the roll-out starting in Ireland and Poland early next year, followed by Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Romania in 2020.

According to Coca-Cola, this will save 2,000 tonnes of plastic and 3,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The paperboard will be used on all can multi-packs of up to eight cans, while larger multipacks will be bound by a carton pack.

CCEP’s vice president for sustainability Joe Franses said: “Innovation is a key principle of our sustainable packaging work and the application of this fully recyclable paperboard KeelClip, which comprises a top board that the cans clip into and a central cardboard ‘keel’ – similar to a ship’s keel – that stabilises the pack, is another example of how we are delivering on our commitment to remove all unnecessary and hard to recycle single-use plastic from our products.”

Shrinking plastics

In September, CCEP announced it will end the use of shrink-wrapped plastics across all can multipacks it sells in Great Britain, in a move that will replace plastic used on 30 million packs annually with sustainably sourced cardboard.

More than 30 million packs sold to consumers each year will no longer be wrapped in plastic. Instead, the multipacks will be packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified sources.

The Coca-Cola Company is aiming to make all bottles globally with an average of 50% recycled content by 2030, up from its 2017 proportion of 7%.

Information disclosed through the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment spring 2019 report found that Coca-Cola used three million tonnes of plastic in its global operations in 2018. This figure accounts for both virgin and recycled plastics. The company was named as the world’s largest corporate plastic polluter last year.

However, CCEP has embarked on a four-pillar sustainable packaging roadmap to outline how collection, redesign and removal can ensure that all its packaging is collected and reused. Read an exclusive insight into the plastics packaging strategy here.

Matt Mace

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