Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage manufacturer, recently revealed the latest evolution of its paper-based single-use beverage bottle.
Coke, which at least publicly appears to be the furthest advanced in their quest to create a 100-per-cent paper bottle
For now, Coke’s bottle has a plastic closure and plastic film lining, made from 100-per-cent recycled plastic that can be recycled again after use. “But our vision is to create a paper bottle that can be recycled like any paper,” explains Stijn Franssen, EMEA R&D packaging innovation manager at Coca-Cola. “The next step is to find a solution to create a bottle without the plastic liner.
“Our vision is to create a paper bottle that can be recycled like any other type of paper, and this prototype is the first step on the way to achieving this,” said Franssen, when he revealed the newest design to the media in October.
“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.”
He believes that future technological solutions will help achieve the vision of a paper bottle that’s recyclable as paper, but the paper packaging must also meet the same safety and quality standards as other forms of packaging.
“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,” he added.
The final step in producing 100-per-cent paper bottles – which because of their biodegradability are for now the holy grail of convenient beverage packaging – may be the hardest, but the commitment is there and several companies are already working on environmentally friendly solutions.
According to the Paper Bottle Company (an independent packaging supplier developing its own paper bottle), some 80 billion plastic bottles are currently manufactured worldwide – and that’s aside from all the glass and metal variations.
Other brands including Carlsberg and Johnnie Walker have revealed prototypes, although all share one thing for now – while predominantly paper (or cardboard) the solutions still rely on plastic screw caps to ensure airtightness, and plastic lining to prevent leakage or absorption into the paper.