Coca-Cola has presented this Wednesday the progress made in its first prototype of a paper bottle, in which it carries working for a year with the startup Paboco, in a video in which the packaging can be seen at its R&D center in Brussels. “Our vision is to create a paper bottle that can be recycled like any other type of paper and this prototype represents the first step on the road to achieving it. This bottle prototype opens up a new world of packaging possibilities for us and we are convinced that paper packaging will have a prominent place in the future, “explains Stijn Franssen, EMEA R&D Packaging Innovation Manager at Coca-Cola, who currently works in the project.
The development of the first generation of the paper bottle prototype was launched in October 2019 when Coca-Cola became part of the The Paper Bottle Company, Paboco community, which also includes other brands such as Carlsberg, L’ORÉAL and The Absolut Company Pernod Ricard. This company was created by the developer of paper packaging Billerud Korsnäs and the specialist in manufacturing of bottles Alpla.
With the advances in its first paper bottle prototype, Coca-Cola reaffirms its commitment to ecodesign as one of the keys to achieving ‘A World Without Waste’. In order to continue introducing recycled material and innovating its packaging, in 2019 it invested 180 million euros in innovation and ecodesign projects, within its sustainability strategy for Western Europe ‘We move forward’.
The path to realizing the company’s vision for the paper bottle is in full swing and this first-generation prototype features a closure and a thin 100% recyclable plastic liner. In the words of Franssen himself: “Our vision is to create an entirely paper bottle that can be recycled along with any other paper. The next step on our way is to find a way to create a bottle without the plastic liner. “.
Just like any type of packaging, a paper bottle for the future must adhere to the same high safety and quality standards for food packaging that are currently in effect. Franssen and his team are subjecting the prototype bottle to extensive laboratory testing to verify its performance in the fridge, its strength and its ability to protect the beverage inside.
“We think a lot about how our consumers will react to this paper bottle. Details such as when and where it could be sold or how it could be recycled are being valued in the design process. The bottle must be analyzed from every angle to make sure it is the best possible bottle, “says Franssen.
Both he and his team are optimistic about future technological solutions that will help realize the vision of a paper bottle that can be recycled along with any paper or cardboard and that can be used in the packaging of the wide range of beverages in the portfolio of Coke. “This is all part of a journey to find the most sustainable packaging solutions for people who enjoy our beverages in a way that feels good to them and to our planet, “concludes Franssen.