Page 41 - Packaging News Magazine Mar-Apr 2021
P. 41

                   March-April 2021 | | BEVERAGE PACKAGING
  Coca-Cola is set to prototype paper bottles to package drinks, though questions have been raised on the viability of its latest plan, writes Jan Arreza.
How viable is Coke’s paper bottle?
OCA-COLA is set to prototype a paper-fibre-based materials to give ABOVE: Not
which I think is a better plan – PET can be recycled successfully back into packaging, it’s lightweight, resource efficient and requires less energy and water to produce and recycle compared to alternatives. This should result in lower carbon emissions,” Shipley says.
“My main issue is when initiatives are presented to the consumer as more sustainable, when I do not believe they are. I believe rigid PET is already collected kerbside in many countries including Australia and successfully recycled into food tray and bottles.”
Shipley believes the media and retailers also have a part to play too, as no one really educates the con- sumer, instead just giving them what they think they want to have.
“All plastics have residual value and we should focus efforts to edu- cate consumers and provide infra- structure to capture and recycle more,” Shipley says.
According to Kosior, it is quite clear that this is not a ‘circular econ- omy’ bottle, and instead would require a new category to be invented if it is to be a replacement for the cur- rently recyclable materials, such as PET, aluminium or glass, which he finds unfortunate.
“Coca-Cola is already very progres- sive in their use of recycled PET and very good packaging designs for recy- clability, so it is odd that they come out with a design that has no appar- ent end-of-life strategy,” Kosior adds.
“All of their other packaging for- mats are getting quite good at recy- clability and they are all very well designed,” he says.
”Globally they have made big com- mitments and are well ahead of all the other big brands in achieving their goals in this space. So you have to wonder, if they have made all of these positive moves in recycling, why would they announce a bottle like this?” Kosior asks.
The answer, as PKN realises, may well be that the plastic liner will be made from a biomaterial that could go in the same recycling stream as paper, with similar intentions for the neck thread and closure. All will be revealed, no doubt, in due course. ■
 paper bottle as part of its ambi- them strength”, but that the shell much detail
tion to reduce the use of plas- “still contains a thin plastic liner”. is available
tics in its packaging, but many “It was a fairly bold announcement yet about the paper bottle
consider it a misstep in its oth- without much detail – they basically prototype and erwise positive move towards just said here is our new paper bottle, how it is made. greater sustainability. but it is quite clear from the image
Not much detail about the and the construction that it is not just
 prototype is available as yet, although we do know it was developed by Danish company Paboco, which was given the brief to create a recyclable, plastic-free structure capable of withstanding the forces exerted by carbonated drinks, which are bottled under pressure.
The barrier also has to ensure no fibres flake off into the liquid, as that would pose a risk of altering the taste of the drink – or potentially fall foul of health and safety checks. On top of that, the paper needs to be mould- able to create distinct bottle shapes and sizes for different brands, while being able to accept printing ink.
Sounds like a tough proposition, and indeed it is, with some question- ing the feasibility of Coca-Cola’s pro- posal. The paucity of information on what the paper bottles are made of has also added to the uncertainty.
All we know is that they are “formed out of a single piece of
100 per cent paper-based,” says Professor Edward Kosior, CEO and founder, Nextek.
“It’s obviously a composite bottle – it has a plastic liner, it has a plastic neck, it has a plastic cap, which means that the bottle will have sig- nificant complexity when it comes to recycling,” he says.
“If you wanted to break all of the rules of recycling, then you would design a bottle like that, and that is what this bottle does, and immedi- ately tells me this is a marketing exercise.”
John Shipley, business unit direc- tor, KM Packaging, agrees with Kosior’s sentiment, saying: “From what I’ve seen, it looks like green washing to me. I would like to see a lifecycle assessment for this pack versus PET, rPET, Tetra Pak and glass bottles, and see how they compare.”
“Coca-Cola is already making com- mitments to use recycled PET bottles,

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