Coca Cola to swap plastic wrap for cardboard

Coca-Cola European Partners will stop using plastic shrink-wrap on its multi-pack cans sold in Great Britain over the next 18 months, using a cardboard outer sleeve instead.

Plastic shrink wrap will be replaced by a cardboard alternative on Coca Cola can multipacks

The new cardboard multipacks will be introduced on four, six and eight packs of cans across all brands, including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Lilt, the company has revealed today (19 September).

Plastic shrink wrap will be replaced by a cardboard alternative on Coca Cola can multipacks

Currently only 10% of local authorities would accept the shrink wrap plastic through existing collection systems, whereas 98% accept the cardboard packaging. The move will replace around 4,000 tonnes of plastic from circulation, according to CCEP.


Leendert den Hollander, vice president and general manager, Coca-Cola European Partners GB, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to recycle our packaging after they’ve enjoyed our drinks. All our cans are 100% recyclable but we know it is a challenge for consumers to recycle the plastic we use for our multipacks.

“By replacing shrink-wrap with cardboard, which is collected by virtually every household system in the country, we are eliminating a hard-to-recycle material from our supply chain. Changing all our canning lines over the next 18 months is a complex project. But we believe it is the right thing to do and we would encourage others in the sector to follow our lead.”

Other recent developments from the drinks distributor include increasing the amount of rPET used in all its drinks ranges to at least 50% by 2020, as well as changing the colour of its green Sprite lemonade bottle to clear so that it can better use recycled content (see story).


Rationalising the use of plastics in packaging appears to be an increasing trend amongst producers, with consumers increasingly seeking alternatives to plastic where it is difficult to recycle in particular.

Packaging producer DS Smith recently recommended replacing plastic shrink wrap with cardboard alternatives in its ‘Transforming the Supermarket Aisle’ report in which it looked at the potential to further the use of fibre use in product packaging.

Elsewhere, the supermarket chain Aldi has announced plans for a trial replacement of shrink wrap with cardboard packaging for its multipacks of tinned tuna.

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