Coca-Cola Co. is rolling out bottles with tethered caps a year-and-a-half before the caps become mandatory across the European Union market.
In collaboration with packaging specialist Berry Global Inc., Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has introduced a lightweight, tethered closure for its carbonated soft drinks in PET bottles.
Berry’s new tethered closure for Coca-Cola is designed to remain intact with the bottle, making it less likely to be littered and more likely to be recycled. The collaboration helps progress Coca-Cola’s goal to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable globally by 2025, Evansville, Ind.-based Berry said in a Jan. 26 news release.
Tethered caps first became an issue in 2018, when the European Commission proposed them on single-use beverage bottles. Multinational brands, including Coca-Cola, Danone, Nestlé and PepsiCo, lobbied furiously against the proposed new legislation, arguing that the investment required would be better spent on measures to increase recycling collection rates., but to no avail.
In June 2019, the European Union published Directive 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. In addition to banning of the use of plastics in specified single-use products, it also stated that as of July 3, 2024, single-use 3-litre and smaller beverage containers with plastic caps and lids, could only be placed on the market if the caps and lids remained attached to the containers during the products’ intended use and storage.
Faced with a deadline that suddenly seemed very close, the companies then turned their attention to designing and developing the required tethering solutions. That led to challenges such as how to create a sustainable solution that also incorporates the ever-higher percentage of recycled content demanded by law.
The new caps had to fit with the various types of standard bottle mouths on the market, be practical, safe and convenient in use for consumers yet not affect production cost, bottle design, bottle neck, the filling line or the capper. In addition, the closures should be available both as light-weight press-on caps and as screw-on caps.
Now, well ahead of schedule, Berry has solved these issues and more. In addition to product safety and security, Berry says its new tethered closure for Coca-Cola features a special tamper-evident band that, once broken, does not impact the closure's ability to remain attached and is positioned out of the way for drinking but can easily be reclosed. When open, it provides a wide angle for easy access to the beverage and comfortable on-the-go drinking.
More than 400 million closures have been successfully applied on Coca-Cola bottling lines in Germany, Spain and the United KingdomK, with the rollout to continue to the company’s other European plants.
“Innovation in packaging design is key to helping our customers meet their ambitious sustainability goals while delivering attractive, functional solutions that meet and exceed constantly evolving market demands,” said Thierry Bernet, vice president of Circular Economy & Innovation at Berry Global.