Americans may be saddled with single-use plastic bottles for a while yet, but over in Europe it seems like Coca-Cola drinkers with climate concerns are being heard. Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has announced the introduction of CanCollar, a paperboard packaging solution, for multipack cans that is sustainable, recyclable, and set to keep more than 18 “tonnes” (about 20 tons) of plastic from ending up in the world’s oceans each year.
Developed in collaboration with American corrugated packaging company WestRock, the CanCollar uses no glue or adhesives, keeping its total carbon footprint (and cost!) to a minimum. This new packaging solution “exemplifies [Coca-Cola’s] clear commitment to reduce plastic in our secondary packaging,” according to Joe Franses, vice president of sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners.
The move could be seen as something of a response to criticisms Coca-Cola took earlier this year, when Bea Perez, head of sustainability for Coca-Cola, refused to commit to a reduction in the company’s production of single-use plastic bottles while putting the blame on consumers who, she argued, would turn away from Coke’s products if it weren’t for the convenience of the lightweight, re-sealable bottles. According to the BBC, those “convenient” bottles add up to some 3 million tonnes of plastic trash per year — that’s 200,000 bottles every minute.
So, this is a drop in the bucket. I get that. All the same, the idea is that any positive change is to be celebrated, and removing 4000 tonnes of plastic pollution with a solution that’s cheap, robust, and sustainable would certainly be labeled a win if, say, a Chicago pizza joint or Brazilian mechanic had done it.
That’s my take on this. What’s yours? Do you think the CanCollar is a solution that could take off in America, or is giving up on the convenience of stretchy plastic just too much of an ask? Scroll on down to the comments section and let us know!