US – Philadelphia-based Coca-Cola bottler, Liberty, has partnered with fiber-based consumer packaging supplier Graphic Packing International to produce multipacks in the paperboard packaging format called KeelClip.

The partnership will enable the bottler to also use multipack carton application equipment in its drive to achieve the sustainability goal.

The fiber-based paper packaging format will replace plastic rings on multipacks cans of soda and is set to be used in deliveries to all stores across Liberty’s service area.

The service areas include Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, as well as parts of Connecticut and Delaware.

KeelClip equipment is a sustainable packaging system for cans that has already been successfully implemented and distributed through other local Coca-Cola bottlers in Europe, though the company said it will be new to the US market.

It is estimated by the company that the transition will remove 75,000 lbs of plastic packaging per year from the supply chain across Liberty’s service area.

Paul Mulligan, co-owner of Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages, stated: “Liberty is thrilled to be the first bottler in the United States to implement this innovative packaging system.

We know that the most valuable change to reduce plastic waste occurs when bottlers and packaging producers work together in partnership.

We look forward to partnering with Graphic Packaging on sharing this sustainable packaging in our local communities for years to come.”

Liberty plans to utilize the technology to improve sustainability across its entire distribution footprint.

The company noted that the installation of the KeelClip 1600 machinery means the sustainable fiber-based packaging is manufactured at one of the production facilities located in New York for easy distribution across its entire footprint.

Adds Bret Arnone, vice president, of commercial operations & beverage packaging at Graphic Packaging said this technology has seen incredible success wherever it has been used.

The KeelClip packaging implementation is the latest effort Liberty has taken to advance its sustainability efforts.

Last summer, Liberty became the first local Coca-Cola bottler to produce and distribute bottles made from 100% recycled material in the United States.

According to Kurt Ritter, General Manager and Vice President of Sustainability, Coca-Cola North America, it is very important to address plastic waste, for better collective and collaborative thinking and action.

Ritter expressed delight that Liberty’s ongoing commitment to sustainability is evident with the latest implementation of KeelClip.

This has become another demonstration of the group’s system’s dedication to delivering on Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste goals, he concluded.

The Elmsford production facility also has a sustainable compacter that significantly reduces its carbon footprint and processes large volumes of full plastic and aluminum liquid containers for recycling.

The company is also in the process of installing solar paneling, which will help power its facilities and the local community in 2023, as part of its substantiality mission.

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