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Coca-Cola continues its sustainable packaging push in Europe

Coca-Cola continues its sustainable packaging push in Europe
Switching from difficult-to-recycle film (left) to more-easily-recycled paperboard for multipacks is part of Coca-Cola's Sustainability Action Plan.

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has announced that it’s switching the carriers on its multipacks from shrink wrap to paperboard to reduce packaging waste. CCEP estimates this change in its beverage packaging will remove about 4,000 metric tons of single-use plastic per year from its current supply chain.

Flexible packaging materials used for shrink wrap are typically challenging to recycle. In contrast, CCEP’s paperboard multipack carriers will be made from recyclable, sustainably sourced paperboard. The material will be certified via either the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

The change of secondary packaging material aligns with Coca-Cola’s Action on Packaging Sustainability Action Plan, which focuses on making all of the company’s packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. CCEP plans to eventually make not only its primary packaging, but also its secondary packaging, as sustainable as possible.

Coca-Cola’s Action on Packaging plan includes sourcing recycled packaging materials, with a specific commitment to obtain at least 50% of the plastic for its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles from recycled plastic. The company reports that in 2018, 98% of its packaging in Western Europe was recyclable, and that about 28% of the plastic it used for packaging was recycled material.

CCEP is also collaborating with technology partners such as Loop Industries to transform low-value plastic waste into high-quality PET resin.

Packaging Digest recently reported on CCEP’s plan to sell the Honest tea, Glacéau Smartwater and Chaudfontaine brands in bottles made from 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) starting in 2020. Our reportage includes a Q&A with Joe Franses, vp, sustainability, at CCEP.

CCEP is the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, based on revenue. It serves more than 300 million consumers in a region spanning Andorra, Belgium, continental France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

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