Coca-Cola was ranked the world’s number one plastic polluter by the charity ‘Break Free From Plastic’ in it’s annual survey. It’s clear they have a plastic problem.
Now, it seems they’re trying to do something about it, with a 2000 bottle test run of its first-ever paper bottle.
Announced in a blog post on the company’s site, they’re aiming to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one they sell by 2030. They also plan on substantially reducing their use of virgin packaging materials and make the move towards, packaging materials that are 100% recyclable. It’s shocking we’ve gotten this far into the plastic armageddon and they’re only now making the move towards recycled plastics.
As part of these initiatives, Coca-Cola has been working with The Paper Bottle Company, or Paboco, a Danish firm behind development of the paper-based container.
“This first-generation paper bottle prototype still consists of a paper shell with a plastic closure and a plastic liner inside. The plastic we use is made from 100% recycled plastic that can be recycled again after use. But our vision is to create a paper bottle that can be recycled like any paper. The next step is to find a solution to create a bottle without the plastic liner,” said in the blog Stijn Franssen, EMEA R&D Packaging Innovation Manager at Coca‑Cola, who is working on the project.
Paboco is also working with Absolut, the vodka-maker, is due to test 2,000 paper bottles of it own in the UK and Sweden of its pre-mixed, carbonated raspberry drink.
And beer company Carlsberg is also building prototypes of a paper beer bottle.
The bottles are formed out of a single piece of paper-fibre-based material to give them strength. They mold the paper around a single object – rather than relying on joins – which ensures the bonds between the fibres stay robust.
The bottle’s aren’t ready for the mass market yet, the 2000 bottle tests are still prototypes. The paper cannot come into direct contact with liquids, the plan is to use a plant-based coating on the inside of the bottle.
The reason the bottles still have a plastic lid is that this means they can be used on existing production lines.
But in time they will need to be adapted for an all-paper cap.
These are baby steps that we can live with.