Coca-Cola launches paperboard multipack rings in European first

18 August 2020


Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has adopted CanCollar paperboard-based ring technology for its multipack cans in the Balearic Islands, Spain. The PEFC-certified, recyclable and sustainably-sourced CanCollar replaces the current Hi-cone plastic ring solution, saving more than 18 tons of plastic annually. Spain is the first European country where CanCollar paperboard-based rings will launch on multipack cans, with further European rollouts anticipated.

The CanCollar is a product of WestRock, a global company that provides its customers with sustainable differentiated packaging solutions. CCEP’s adoption of the solution brings it closer to removing all unnecessary or hard-to-recycle plastic from its portfolio and avoiding the use of more than 11,000 tons of virgin plastic a year across Western Europe.

CCEP, the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, has invested €2.6 million in its Barcelona plant to support this initiative. The installation of WestRock’s CanCollar Fortuna manufacturing equipment will enable multipack cans to be grouped in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, with a process that does not require glue or adhesives.

Maximum appeal, minimal material

WestRock describes CanCollar as a solution that achieves maximum consumer appeal while using the minimum amount of material required to hold the cans together through the supply chain. Patent-pending tooth design and wet strength CarrierKote paperboard create a minimalist yet robust paperboard ring.

CarrierKote is a renewable, responsibly-sourced, recyclable paperboard, containing up to 15 percent recycled content. The CanCollar surface can be printed or embellished to reinforce brand elements and elevate the consumer experience.

“The agreement with WestRock exemplifies our clear commitment to reducing plastic in our secondary packaging. By the end of 2020, we will have removed more than 4,000 tons of hard-to-recycle plastic from our secondary packaging in Western Europe. It’s through collaborating on innovative packaging solutions like CanCollar that we can do this,” notes Joe Franses, Vice President of Sustainability, CCEP.

“We are proud of our longstanding partnership with Coca-Cola. For 70 years, we have supported Coca-Cola in bringing innovation to global beverage markets. CanCollar is the latest initiative supporting Coca-Cola’s vision to create a World Without Waste,” adds Dwayne Irvin, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions at WestRock.

EU Plastics Tax on the horizon

In response to intensified regulatory and consumer demand for more environmentally sustainable packaging in Europe, beverage producers are increasingly exploring alternatives to conventional plastic rings and shrink wrap. In July, the European Council approved the implementation of a plastic tax starting January 1, 2021, as part of its latest agreement on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) and coronavirus recovery fund. The plan foresees a €0.80/kg levy on non-recycled plastic packaging waste, which will be paid by Member States into the EU budget.

In a notable adoption, Dutch beer brewer Grolsch brought Smurfit Kappa’s paper-based TopClip multi-pack can solution to market for the first time in March. Completely renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, the TopClip offers a viable alternative to conventional plastic shrink wrap, which is typically unrecyclable in existing recycling infrastructure.

Sticking with plastics, Molson Coors adopted Hi-Cone’s partially recycled plastic rings for its Coors Light six-packs, available at grocery outlets across Ontario, Canada, from July. The RingCycles solution contains more than 50 percent recycled content and requires 90 percent less non-renewable energy and 83 percent less water to make. Molson Coors is the first beverage company in North America to adopt RingCycles technology.

In July, CCEP announced funding for CuRe Technology – a recycling startup that aims to provide a new lease of life for difficult to recycle plastic polyester waste. Through its innovation investment fund CCEP Ventures, CCEP will enable CuRe to accelerate its “polyester rejuvenation” technology from pilot plant to commercial readiness. Once the technology is commercialized, CCEP will receive the majority of the output from a CuRe-licensed, new-build plant, accelerating the beverage giant’s transition to 100 percent recycled PET (rPET).

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