Coca-Cola’s try at paper bottles starts with a trickle

The Coca-Cola Company is testing a paper bottle with consumers in Hungary who buy the plant-based drink AdeZ from one online retailer. (Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola Company)
The Coca-Cola Company is testing a paper bottle with consumers in Hungary who buy the plant-based drink AdeZ from one online retailer. (Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola Company)

Beverage giant to test new packaging in limited Hungary trial

Coca-Cola is choosing paper over plastic in a tiny sales trial involving a drink in a paper bottle.

It doesn’t involve the curvy, iconic bottle of the flagship Coke brand, though. In what the company describes as a limited online trial launching this summer, 2,000 paper bottles of AdeZ, a plant-based drink, will be sold to consumers via online grocer Kifli.hu in Hungary.

The Atlanta-based company says the packaging, created along with Danish company Paboco, is still under development, but it wants to test how it performs for consumers.

“This is new technology, and we are moving in uncharted territory,” Stijn Franssen, a packaging innovation manager for Coca‑Cola Europe, said in a press statement. “We have to invent the technical solutions as we go along.”

The bottle being tested with consumers isn’t all paper. Its inner lining and cap are plastic, though the company said it hopes to eventually have a fully recyclable paper bottle without plastic.

Coke hasn’t disclosed any specific plans to use paper bottles for other drinks, including those sold in the United States.

The company has been pummeled by concerns about plastic waste and carbon emissions tied to making packages. For years Coke has said it has worked to find alternatives and reduce non-recycled plastic content in its containers.

The beverage giant has set a goal to recycle as many bottles or cans as it sells by 2030 and to use only 100% recyclable packaging materials.

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