Coca-Cola HBC is initiating a trial run of an eco-friendly cardboard and paper alternative to plastic shrink film for its 1.5-litre multipacks of Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Sprite, which are sold in Austria. This move is expected to result in a reduction of 200 tonnes of plastic usage annually.
The innovative product, called LitePac Top, is described as a 100% recyclable cardboard and paper carrier and wrap. It is designed to simplify the stacking of multipacks for retailers and make it convenient for consumers to carry and recycle the packaging.
LitePac Top can handle the weight of a six-pack of 1.5-litre bottles, which amounts to approximately 9 kilograms. The aim is to replace the use of plastic shrink wrap for these large, heavy multipack bottles. The introduction of LitePac Top in Austria is anticipated to significantly reduce both plastic consumption and the energy costs associated with its production.
Moreover, this trial aligns with Coca-Cola HBC’s NetZeroBy40 initiative, in which the company aims to achieve net-zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2040.
Marcel Martin, chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer at Coca-Cola HBC, said, “This is the first-ever packaging solution of its kind for 1.5-litre multipacks of Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Sprite. It’s the result of our entrepreneurial mindset, an absolute belief in collaborating with trusted partners, and our focus on reaching net-zero emissions by 2040.”
The development of LitePac Top spanned three years and involved an international partnership between Coca-Cola HBC, Krones, DS Smith, and Mondi. This collaboration not only resulted in the innovative packaging solution but also the necessary production equipment for its manufacture. The product underwent rigorous testing for quality, consumer appeal, and ease of use before its launch.
Ivo Bjelis, chief supply chain officer at Coca-Cola HBC, emphasized the importance of collaboration in sustainability efforts, stating, “We know that to carve new paths and make real progress towards Net Zero, we must work with companies that share our sustainability goals. The collaboration and determination to find the right solution from our international partners were outstanding as we all contribute to building a circular economy. This solution offers a real opportunity to take plastic out from secondary packaging, so we’ll assess how well it performs and if people want to buy it.”
In a related development in 2019, Smurfit Kappa introduced a range of recyclable, renewable, and biodegradable packaging solutions for can and bottle multipacks to reduce reliance on single-use plastic alternatives. This included the TopClip, which reportedly reduces the carbon footprint by 30%. Subsequently, Royal Grolsch and Budweiser Budvar UK adopted TopClip as an alternative to plastic shrink wrap for their cans.
Last year, Graphic Packaging unveiled EnviroClip, made from a single ply of paperboard, as a sustainable alternative to shrink films and plastic rings for cans. DS Smith and Krones also introduced ECO Carrier, a fiber-based alternative to shrink wrap designed for PET multipack bottles.