Coca-Cola European Partners, will be replacing plastic shrink wrap with cardboard for its can multipacks across Western Europe, removing approximately 4,000 tonnes of single-use plastic per year across the region. This is the latest move in Coca-Cola’s commitment to tackle packaging waste and remove all unnecessary single-use plastic from its secondary packaging.
Plastic shrink wrapping is used to keep individual products together while they are being transported and sold to customers as multipacks. It can be harder to recycle than some other plastics and many markets do not have collection schemes in place that allow shrink wrap to be recycled. As a result, much of it currently ends up in landfill or as packaging waste.
The shrink wrap will be replaced with 100% recyclable, sustainably sourced cardboard, with either an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certification. As part of the process to shift multipack cans to cardboard packaging, Coca-Cola European Partners has conducted extensive R&D work to identify the appropriate cardboard packaging format for each multipack size. The company’s longer-term goal is to make all the secondary packaging in its supply chain as sustainable as possible, by working with its suppliers on innovative technical solutions.
Joe Franses, Vice-President, Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners, says: “We know that consumers are seeking more sustainable alternatives for packaging. We are committed to removing all unnecessary single-use plastic from our products and by moving our can multipacks to cardboard we are helping people to enjoy our products knowing that the packaging won’t end up as waste or litter in rivers and oceans.”
The move directly supports Coca-Cola’s Action on Packaging commitments to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 – a pledge outlined in its sustainability action plan for Western Europe, This is Forward.
In June 2019, in Western Europe, Coca-Cola announced that its Honest, GLACÉAU Smartwater and Chaudfontaine brands will all be sold in bottles made from 100% recycled plastic (rPET), replacing 9,000 tonnes of virgin plastic per year across Western Europe.
Coca-Cola has also committed to ensure that at least 50% of the material used for PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) bottles comes from recycled plastic. In 2018 98% of Coca-Cola’s packaging in Western Europe was recyclable and just under a third (27.6%) of the plastic used came from recycled sources. Coca-Cola European Partners is also collaborating with several partners, including Loop Industries, a technology innovator in sustainable plastic which turns low-value plastic waste into high quality PET.