• More than 30 million multipacks bought by consumers will switch to cardboard
  • Part of a wider initiative which will see 4,000 tonnes of plastic removed from circulation across Western Europe
  • The latest action the company is taking to ensure its packaging is as sustainable as possible

Coca-Cola European Partners will end the use of plastic shrink-wrap across all multipacks of cans sold in Great Britain and replace it with cardboard. More than 30 million packs sold to consumers each year will no longer be wrapped in plastic.

The new cardboard multipacks will be introduced on 4, 6 and 8 packs of cans across all brands, including Coca-Cola (original taste and zero sugar), Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Lilt. The packs will transition to cardboard over the next 18 months. Multipacks of ten cans or more are already wrapped in cardboard.

The plastic shrink-wrap currently used is recyclable. However, only 10%[1] of local authorities collect this material, whereas 98%[2] accept cardboard as part of household recycling.

The shrink-wrap will be replaced with 100% recyclable, sustainably sourced cardboard, with either an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certification.

The move is part of a wider initiative being introduced across Western Europe and will remove 4,000 tonnes of plastic from circulation across the region.

Leendert den Hollander, Vice President and General Manager, Coca-Cola European Partners GB, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to recycle our packaging after they’ve enjoyed our drinks. All our cans are 100% recyclable but we know it is a challenge for consumers to recycle the plastic we use for our multipacks. By replacing shrink-wrap with cardboard, which is collected by virtually every household system in the country, we are eliminating a hard-to-recycle material from our supply chain. Changing all our canning lines over the next 18 months is a complex project. But we believe it is the right thing to do and we would encourage others in the sector to follow our lead.”

The switch to cardboard is the latest change from Coca-Cola as part of its sustainable packaging strategy, launched in 2017, in which it set out its ambition to work with others to ensure that all of its packaging is recovered so that more is recycled and none ends up as waste.

In June, Coca-Cola announced that glacéau smartwater would be its first brand in Great Britain to be sold in bottles made from 100% recycled plastic, removing 3,100 tonnes of virgin plastic from circulation. It is also on track to double the recycled content in all of its plastic bottles in 2020 and is switching Sprite bottles from green to clear plastic to make them easier to recycle into new bottles.

In addition to increasing the amount of recycled materials in its packaging, the company continues to encourage consumers to recycle through its advertising and messaging on packs as well as championing reform of the recycling system in Great Britain.

[1] Recoup 2018 UK Households Plastic Collection Survey

[2] Wrap Household Collection Report, June 2016

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