3. Continued lightweighting across the Dasani package portfolio
This tried-and-true method to source reduction supports Dasani’s overall efforts to reduce the amount of virgin PET plastic procured by the Coca-Cola system.
Now Coca-Cola is leveraging new technologies in taking a closer look at packaging design to reduce weight gram by gram.
"It's part of our new design process where we are challenging to maintain or evolve the performance aspects and maintain beverage quality as part of a holistic package system." Shah explains. "We don’t want to take so much weight out that we have to add somewhere else instead as balance perspective as to what makes sense for that particular package."
Lightweighting R&D is all encompassing, according to Shah. “The closure and entire neck finish contribute to bottle design and lightweighting. Really everything affects the total weight so we assess at the whole system of bottle, closure, label, secondary packaging—with the closure an enabler of the whole lightweighting program.”
Shah says that they will first take a look primarily at the 500mL bottle before turning to other sizes starting with the 20oz size. “We are prioritizing those two sizes because they are critical components of the portfolio,” Shah points out.
What do you think of KHS’ "Factor 100" bottle that brings the weight of a 500mL bottle down to an incredible five grams?
“That’s an incredible development,” agrees Shah. “We have connected with KHS and all OEM suppliers of bottle manufacturing systems—we’re supportive of all their work in using new technology for lightweighting.”
To read more about the Factor 100 technology in a June 2018 report published by PlasticsToday, click here.
“Glass barrier” PET bottles
As an aside and because we were speaking with the company's lead in packaging innovation, Packaging Digest also asked Shah about KHS’s Plasmax technology that coats small 250- or 300-mL bottles internally with a silicon oxide (SiOx) “glass” barrier layer, a technology that was commercialized recently by Coca-Cola Canada (shown in above image).
“Plasmax coating tech is something we took a leadership role in,” Shah emphasizes. “In fact, we launched that type of package in Asia four or five years ago and are now using it in Canada as an enabling technology that’s part of our ‘toolkit’. While that specific bottle is not in the U.S. market today, the technology provides excellent shelf life characteristics to the bottle and reduces overall weight, which is sometimes a problem in smaller packages.”
Is there a particular range of bottle sizes where the tech is optimized?
“We take a look at each bottle,” responds Shah. “The tech itself might have some limitations, but we would assess using it case by case looking at the design of the package, the environment it will be in and the shelf life that’s needed…there are a lot of lot of dimensions to consider. However, overall there’s a strong case for the technology because of the amount of material you’re able to reduce in the bottle.”
According to a June 2019 report in PlasticsToday, Coca-Cola Canada was able to achieve a 30% weight reduction while blowmolding both size bottles from the same 14-gram preform.
Next: Labels for recycling, packaging-free Dasani and smart design