Shrink-wrap set to be canned by Coca-Cola

More than 30 million can packs sold annually will be shrink-wrap free

As part of a wider sustainable packing strategy launched in 2017, which will see 4,000 tonnes of plastic removed from circulation across Europe, Coca-Cola European Partners will be replacing plastic shrink-wrap with cardboard across all multipack cans sold in Great Britain.

The move will mean more than 30 million packs sold to consumers each year will no longer be wrapped in plastic. This follows the announcement from Coca-Cola in June that Glacéau Smartwater would be its first brand in Great Britain to be sold in bottles made from 100% recycled plastic, removing 3,100 tonnes of virgin plastic from circulation.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to recycle our packaging after they’ve enjoyed our drinks”, said Leendert den Hollander, Vice President and General Manager, Coca-Cola European Partners GB.

“All our cans are 100% recyclable but we know it is a challenge for consumers to recycle the plastic we use for our multipacks,” den Hollander continued. “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.”

The new cardboard multipacks will be introduced on 4, 6 and 8 packs of cans across all brands, including Coca-Cola (original taste and zero sugar), Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Lilt. The packs will transition to cardboard over the next 18 months. Multipacks of ten cans or more are already wrapped in cardboard.

The plastic shrink-wrap currently used is recyclable. However, only 10% of local authorities collect this material (Recoup 2018 UK Households Plastic Collection Survey), whereas 98% accept cardboard as part of household recycling (Wrap Household Collection Report, June 2016).

The shrink-wrap will be replaced with 100% recyclable, sustainably sourced cardboard, with either an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certification.

In addition to increasing the amount of recycled materials in its packaging, the company continues to encourage consumers to recycle through its advertising and messaging on packs as well as championing reform of the recycling system in Great Britain.

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