DENMARK – American multinational beverage corporation Coca-Cola is once again pushing the limits on innovation in order to reduce its carbon print.

This time, the Atlanta based company is partnering with a Danish based startup Paboco to develop a 100% paper bottle that would potentially replace the millions of plastics that it produces annually.

“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,” says Stijn Franssen, R&D packaging innovation manager, Coca-Cola EMEA.

“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.”

Coca-Cola’s first-generation prototype consists of a paper shell with a 100% recycled plastic closure and liner inside.

 The next step, Franssen, says, is to create a paper bottle without the plastic line and his team is conducting extensive lab testing at The Coca-Cola Company’s Brussels-based R&D center to assess how the paper bottle performs, holds up and protects its contents while refrigerated and in other scenarios.

Paper bottles – which Paboco believes have potential for use with sparkling and still beverages, and other consumer goods sectors such as cosmetics – must adhere to the same stringent safety and quality standards as other food and beverage packaging.

Michael Michelsen, business development manager at Paboco, however says that the project “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.”

Coca-Cola is among a small group of “pioneer” companies – with expertise in beverage production and marketing, as well as packaging material, design and technology – working to explore the paper bottle concept with Paboco (short for The Paper Bottle Company).

In September, alcohol manufacturer Absolut company which is also part of Paboco  announced plans to roll out about 2,000 paper bottles of its vodka variants Absolut Vodka and Absolut Mixt in an effort to foster sustainable packaging.

Absolut’s paper bottles will be made from 57% paper and 43% plastic. The bottles will use a metallic crown cap instead of plastic in a radical turn away from plastic.

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 everyone it sells by 2030.

Coca-Cola also commits itself to substantially reducing 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.

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