Coca-Cola was named as the world’s top contributor to plastic pollution in 2020, and this has opened the company’s eyes to an important change that needs to be made in terms of its environmental impact.

As a result, Coca-Cola approached a Danish company The Paper Bottle Company, or Paboco, to create an extra-strong paper shell that still contains a thin plastic liner. While there will be a small amount of plastic within the cup, the goal for Coca-Cola is to have a 100% recyclable, plastic-free bottle in future.

The plastic barrier within the plastic bottle will also ensure that no fibre flakes will drop into the soda. If flakes drop into the drink, it may alter the taste of the famous drink.

The prototype was unveiled in November 2020.

“Our vision is to create a paper bottle than can be recycled like any other type of paper, and this prototype is the first step on the way to achieving this,” Stijn Franssen, R&D packaging innovation manager, Coca-Cola EMEA said at the time. “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.”

The paper bottle concept supports The Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste sustainable packaging goal to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030, while substantially reducing the use of virgin packaging materials and using only 100% recyclable packaging materials. Achieving this vision requires investment in innovation and collaboration with partners to drive collection, recycling and sustainable design.

Part of Coca-Cola’s goal has been to create a structure that is able to withstand the forces exerted by fizzy drinks, which are bottled under pressure. The paper also needs to mouldable to create distinct bottle shapes and sizes for different brands. It should be able to absorb ink as well for label printing.

After more than seven years of lab work, the firm is now ready to host a trial in Hungary for Coca-Cola’s summer drink Adez. This means 2000 bottles will be distributed via a local retail chain.

Absolut, a vodka producer, is also due to test 2000 paper bottles of its pre-mixed raspberry drink, in the UK and Sweden.  Beer company Carlsberg is also building prototypes of a paper beer bottle.

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Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.