Coca-Cola is testing a new paper bottle for its line-up of drinks as it attempts to eliminate plastic bottles from their packaging. There are as many as 2000 paper bottles that are on trial at this time and will be on trial through the summer months. These bottles are made of sustainably sourced wood with a bio-based material barrier that is capable of preventing the release of gas as well as liquids and oxygen. The bottle has been made by Danish company Paboco, or The Paper Bottle Company and co-developed by Coca-Cola’s research team. This comes at a time when the company has announced new sustainability targets leading up to the year 2030 and is focusing more on the environment.
The company insists though that this technology, which they call a breakthrough, is still very much in development. As part of the trial, 2000 paper bottles of the plant-based beverage AdeZ will be sold via online grocery store Kifli.hu to understand the performance of the packaging and also the customer response. Paboco, the Danish startup, is supported by ALPLA and BillerudKorsnäs, in cooperation with Carlsberg, L’Oréal and The Absolut Company. This initiative comes as the Coca-Cola Company was under pressure to create an environmentally sustainable packaging system for the beverages they sell. In a recent report released by charity group Break Free From Plastic, Coca-Cola was ranked as the world’s number one plastic polluter, followed by rival Pepsi and Nestle.
The trial of the paper bottles is part of the Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste sustainable packaging goal to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every bottle the company sells by the year 2030. At the same time, the company has to substantially reduce the use of virgin packaging materials and use only 100% recyclable packaging materials. “People expect Coca‑Cola to develop and bring to market new, innovative and sustainable types of packaging. That’s why we are partnering with experts like Paboco, experimenting openly and conducting this first in-market trial,” says Daniela Zahariea, director of technical supply chain and innovation, Coca‑Cola Europe.
Coca-Cola isn’t the only company testing paper bottles. Vodka maker Absolut is also due to trial paper bottles for its carbonated raspberry drink product, in the UK and Sweden. The trick for these bottles to work would the robustness that a single material molding can provide, and not have any joints in the packaging to prevent leakage from the pressure that carbonated drinks generate inside the bottle packaging. Since paper shouldn’t come in contact with the drinks inside, the innards of these paper bottles will be layered with a sustainable coating derived from plants.