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Coca-Cola partnering with Paboco : From Plastic to Paper Bottle

Coca Cola Paper Bottle

Green Shift

Coca-Cola partnering with Paboco : From Plastic to Paper Bottle

Coca-Cola, one of the biggest polluters of the world in terms of plastic waste, is partnering with Danish startup Paboco to develop a 100% paper bottle. The vision of the company is to create a paper bottle that can be recycled like any other type of paper.

Paper bottles, once a dream but a reality in the near future. The vision of the company is to create a paper bottle that can be recycled. “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,” says Stijn Franssen, R&D packaging innovation manager, Coca-Cola EMEA.

Along with Pepsi and Nestle, Coca-Cola occupies the top 3 plastic polluters of the world. The company produces around 3 millions of tons of plastic bottles annually. ‘Break Free From Plastic’ has each year ranked the biggest polluters and these 3 companies have been the biggest polluters for 3 year in a row, with Coca-Cola on top. “The world’s top polluting corporations claim to be working hard to solve plastic pollution, but instead they are continuing to pump out harmful single-use plastic packaging,” said Emma Priestland, Break Free From Plastic’s global campaign coordinator.

In order to redeem a more ecological image, Coca-Cola has decided to partner with Danish startup Paboco to develop a 100% paper bottle. The latter would be a revolutionary solution when proven successful. “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,” says Stijn Franssen. 

Right now, the prototype is made up of a paper shell with a 100% recycled plastic closure and liner inside and the next step is to create the paper bottle without the plastic liner, explains Stijn Franssen. 

The team is conducting extensive lab testing with this concept at The Coca-Cola Company’s Brussels-based R&D center. To assess how the paper bottle performs, holds up and protects its contents, the prototype is being put to test in different scenarios.

The venture of producing the most sustainable packaging solutions, is a long and challenging one. The idea is not only to see if the material being used is effective enough to hold liquids, they also have to consider how consumers will react to this paper bottle. “Topics like when and where it could be sold and how it can be recycled are all considered. 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.” said Stijn Franssen.

Paboco, short for The Paper Bottle Company is a Danish startup driven in the fight for nature, The startup is an innovative company with a single purpose: to pioneer the transformation to sustainable bottle packaging. Their business concept is to replace materials threatening our planet and minimize waste that are creating negative environmental impact. 

Established in 2019, the company has challenged the bottle industry as we know it by sparking the fusion of paper packaging innovation and manufacturing systems. They want to deliver paper bottle solutions and ultimately provide consumers with better packaging choices for a sustainable everyday life.

As promising as the solution is, the latter is still in its initial stages of development. Michael Michelsen, business development manager at Paboco, said that they are focused on several different development areas, which all tie back to their vision of creating a 100% recyclable and bio-based bottle. He added. “This has potential to be a real breakthrough in circularity for the industry, unearthing huge potential in how packaging is designed, produced and used by consumers.”

One of the most successful companies, Coca-Cola already has a well defined structure in place. The pioneer company has an extensive expertise in beverage production, marketing, packaging material, design and technology. So this collaboration with Paboco will help to strive forward in the production of the paper bottle.

“The Pioneer Community is a natural next step to fulfill our goal of making a lasting change, by working with and learning from international brands to ensure that our innovations match the real-life needs of producers and consumers,” Michelsen said. “We believe that forming the community will help provide the much-needed insight and guidance to help further develop a concept that has potential to scale. We also believe that it can help us solve technical challenges, build on shared learnings in development, and positively push us all forward.”

Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste’ states that the plan is to collect and recycle a bottle or can for everyone it sells by 2030, while substantially reducing use of virgin packaging materials and using only 100% recyclable packaging materials.

The possibilities that paper bottles will offer will be limitless. This packaging solution has potential not only for beverages but also for any other consumer products such as cosmetics. 

While this solution is promising for the environment, it must adhere to the same stringent safety and quality standards as other food and beverage packaging.

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