In a bid to reduce plastic packaging waste and remove unnecessary plastic from its secondary packaging, Coca-Cola European Partners will be replacing plastic shrink wrap with cardboard for its can multipacks across Western Europe.
The move will see the removal of approximately 4,000 metric tons of single-use plastic per year across the region, the company announced Sept. 19.
Plastic shrink wrapping is used to keep individual products together while they are being transported and sold to customers as multipacks.
Harder to recycle than other types of plastics, shrink wrapping generally ends up in landfills, as many markets lack collection schemes for the product.
Coca-Cola said it would replace the shrink wrap with “100 percent recyclable, sustainably sourced cardboard, with either an FSC (forest stewardship council) or PEFC (program for the endorsement of forest certification) certification.”
As part of the move, the beverage giant said it had conducted extensive R&D work to identify the appropriate cardboard packaging format for each multipack size.
The company’s longer-term goal is to make all the secondary packaging in its supply chain as sustainable as possible, by working with its suppliers on innovative technical solutions.
“We know that consumers are seeking more sustainable alternatives for packaging. We are committed to removing all unnecessary single-use plastic from our products,” said Joe Franses, VP sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners.
The move supports Coca-Cola’s “Action on Packaging” commitments to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 — a pledge outlined in its sustainability action plan for Western Europe, This is Forward.
The company announced another western European initiative in June which would see all Coca-Cola’s Honest, Glacéau Smartwater and Chaudfontaine brands sold in bottles made from 100 percent recycled plastic. They will transition between the end of 2019 and 2020, in a move that will replace 9,000 metric tons of virgin plastic per year across the region, according to the company.
Coca-Cola has also committed to ensure that at least 50 percent of the material used for PET bottles comes from recycled plastic.
In 2018, 98 percent of Coca-Cola’s packaging in Western Europe was recyclable and more than 37 percent of the plastic used came from recycled sources, according to the company.