Imagine a world where each and every piece of packaging produced and sold is also collected and recycled after use – a World Without Waste. That’s Coca-Cola‘s stated goal: they aim to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one they sell by 2030, while also substantially reducing their use of virgin packaging materials, and only using packaging materials that are 100% recyclable. As part of this, the company has been working to explore the concept of a paper bottle with their partner, Paboco, and the three other companies in the Paboco Pioneer Community. And they are now at the stage of a first-generation prototype ready that they believe can play a part in helping to achieve their goal of a World Without Waste. “Our vision is to create a paper bottle than can be recycled like any other type of paper, and this prototype is the first step on the way to achieving this. A paper bottle opens up a whole new world of packaging possibilities, and we are convinced that paper packaging has a role to play in the future,” says Stijn Franssen, EMEA R&D Packaging Innovation Manager at Coca-Cola, who is working on the project.
Just like other types of packaging, a paper bottle of the future must adhere to the same high safety and quality standards for food packaging that currently apply. Stijn and his team are putting the bottle through comprehensive testing in the lab to see how it performs in the refrigerator, how strong it is, and how well it protects the drinks inside. He is optimistic that future technological solutions will help achieve the vision of a paper bottle that’s recyclable as paper – a type of packaging technology that can be part of Coca-Cola’s packaging and portfolio mix, and which could be used for a wide range of beverages. “This is all part of our journey to find the most sustainable packaging solutions for people to enjoy our drinks in a way that is right for them, and that is right for our planet,” says Stijn.