Coca-Cola Seeks Sustainability With New Paper Bottles

The Coca-Cola Company’s first-ever paper bottle prototype – Photo: Coca-Cola

Like many brands throughout the world, Coca-Cola is on a mission to be more environmentally friendly. Their lofty goal? To eliminate plastic packaging.

Coca-Cola, which has been named the “number one plastic polluter” in the world multiple years in a row, has recently announced that it is rolling out a new paper bottle to try and address the problem head-on. In partnership with the Danish Company Paboco, they’ve released a prototype that is now ready for trial. 

According to Stijn Franssen, Coca-Cola’s R&D packaging innovation manager, the company’s vision is to “create a paper bottle” that is recyclable “like any other type of paper.”

Anyone who has ever used a paper straw already knows (and is likely thinking of) the potential problem with a paper bottle. How can one drink soda from a paper vessel without it becoming soggy?

According to Paboco’s business development manager, Michael Michelsen, the key is a thin plastic liner that separates the paper from the soda. He explained that the liner is a “bio-based barrier” that is very “minimal.”

Coca-Cola’s first round of paper bottles will be released in Hungary this summer. Two thousand bottles of the company’s fruit drink, Adez, will be sold in a local retail chain. The goal of this limited launch is to troubleshoot the new bottles and address other potential obstacles, such as the ability to print on the bottles.

The development of paper bottles is a step in the right direction for Coca-Cola. However, Fin Slater, Packaging Europe magazine’s digital editor, opined that it will be a “niche product” for now. He added that while paper bottles are exciting for “innovation geeks,” it’s unlikely that they will take off “in a big way” anytime soon.

Those who are interested in seeing the paper bottles themselves (but aren’t planning on visiting Hungary anytime soon) can check them out via this video: