Coca-Cola scraps plastic packaging for multipacks

The move is expected to remove 4,000 tonnes of single-use plastics per year

The Big Zero report

Coca-Cola is ditching plastic shrink wraps used for multipack cans and replacing them with 100% recyclable cardboard packaging across Western Europe.

The new cardboard multipacks will be introduced on four, six and eight packs of cans across all brands, including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Lilt. Multipacks of 10 cans or more are already wrapped in cardboard.

The packs will transition to cardboard over the next 18 months, with the move expected to remove around 4,000 tonnes of single-use plastics every year across the region.

Plastic shrink wrapping is used to keep individual products together while they are being transported and sold to customers as multipacks.

It can be harder to recycle than some other plastics and many markets do not have collection schemes for the recycling of shrink wrap.

According to Coca-Cola, while the plastic shrink wrap currently used is recyclable, only 10% of local authorities collect this material, whereas 98% accept cardboard as part of household recycling.

Leendert den Hollander, Vice President and General Manager, Coca-Cola European Partners GB, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to recycle our packaging after they’ve enjoyed our drinks. All our cans are 100% recyclable but we know it is a challenge for consumers to recycle the plastic we use for our multipacks. By replacing shrink-wrap with cardboard, which is collected by virtually every household system in the country, we are eliminating a hard-to-recycle material from our supply chain.

“Changing all our canning lines over the next 18 months is a complex project. But we believe it is the right thing to do and we would encourage others in the sector to follow our lead.”

Earlier this year, the company announced GLACÉAU Smartwater would be the first brand in Britain to be sold in bottles made from 100% recycled plastic.

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