Beverage giant Coca-Cola recently unveiled a prototype for its first-ever paper bottle

It is the first step in the goal to create a bottle that can be recycled like any other type of paper product 


Coca-Cola joined the club of the brands woking on their own paper bottles, as announced a few months ago. The bottle innovation comes as part of Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste commitment, where they plan to collect a bottle or can for every single beverage they sell in addition to using substrates and materials that are 100% recyclable. The brand worked together on the concept with Paboco, the same company that developed the Absolut paper bottle (read below).

The world’s plastic problem is now considered one of the biggest environmental threats out there, with an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the oceans alone. No wonder Big Food (and Bev) is under pressure to come up with more sustainable packaging options for their products.

A first attempt at a more sustainable consumption (and production)

However this iteration of the paper bottle isn’t just the tree stuff, however, as the prototype consists of a paper shell that encases a plastic liner and closure. In fact, Though the liner and closure are made from “100% recycled plastic that can be recycled again after use,” the company says its next step is to create a bottle that does not need 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. 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,” said Stijn Franssen, EMEA R&D Packaging Innovation Manager at Coca-Cola, in a press release.

Even so, any bottle containing a CPG beverage has to adhere to certain standards around safety and storage capabilities of packaging, hence the reason Coca-Cola can’t immediately switch to using just any paper bottle. The company says it is currently “putting the bottle through comprehensive testing in the lab to see how it performs in the refrigerator, how strong it is, and how well it protects the drink inside.”

The paper bottles won’t be available on grocery store shelves any time soon, but Coca-Cola’s prototype is another step in that direction. It follows efforts from Coke competitor PepsiCo and spirits brand Diageo, both companies that plan to release paper bottles in 2021.

The paper bottle challenge is common to many Big Bev

Coca-Cola is certainly among the biggest but not the only brand to have joined the “paper bottle challenge’. Other brands are also engaged in the effort: paper bottles are under testing also at Absolute Vodka and Johnny Walker have chosen Pacobo, as per Coca-Cola.


A biochemical company based in the Netherlands is now developing “all-plant” bottles, which may soon land on supermarket shelves. The company, Avantium, uses plant sugars instead of fossil fuels to manufacture its degradable and recyclable plastic bottles, and has already won support from major beverage makers such as Carlsberg.


The plant plastic is resilient enough to be used to bottle carbonated drinks, is fully recyclable and decomposes in one year using a composter. Trials also indicated that it decomposes in normal outdoor conditions. 

“This plastic has very attractive sustainability credentials because it uses no fossil fuels, and can be recycled – but would also degrade in nature much faster than normal plastics do,” said Advantium’s chief executive Tom Van Aken.

Globally, over 300 million tonnes of plastic is petroleum-based, meaning it is made from fossil fuels. This means that in addition to contributing to the plastic pollution crisis and the scourge of microplastics that have been found everywhere from sea spray to table salt, traditional plastics production is directly exacerbating the climate emergency

In the future, Avantium hopes to be able to source plant sugars from biowaste to ensure that its plant plastic will not affect global food supply but would rather alleviate the problem of food waste, a massive environmental issue that currently contributes 10% of global carbon emissions, according to the United Nations. 

source: I The Guardian I The Coca-Cola Company


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