Coca-Cola Bottler Replaces Plastic Rings With Paperboard Packaging

The bottler will use KeelClip packaging, which is already being used worldwide.

August 15, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Philadelphia-based bottler Liberty Coca-Cola is rolling out Coca-Cola in KeelClip paperboard packaging, replacing traditional plastic rings to hold the beverages together, reports NBC Philadelphia.

KeelClip was launched in Europe in 2019, and over 550 million packs have been used worldwide, including use by Coca-Cola Europe. The packaging will remove 75,000 pounds of plastic packaging a year from the supply chain for about 3.1 million cases of Coca-Cola across the Northeast, according to Liberty Coca-Cola. The company reports that it’s the first of its kind in the U.S.

“Liberty is thrilled to be the first bottler in the United States to implement this innovative packaging system,” said Paul Mulligan, co-owner of Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages. “We know that the most valuable change to reduce plastic waste occurs when bottlers and packaging producers work together in partnership. We look forward to partnering with Graphic Packaging on sharing this sustainable packaging in our local communities for years to come.”

The KeelClip beverages will be delivered to retailers across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, as well as parts of Connecticut and Delaware.

In July, Coca-Cola is rolling out bottles of DASANI made from 100% recycled PET plastic (excluding caps and labels), and Sprite is transitioning from green to clear plastic to increase the material’s likelihood of being remade into new beverage bottles.

The rollout follows a successful launch of 100% recycled plastic bottles in New York, California and Texas, which also included 20-ounce Coca-Cola bottles. The test included consumer awareness through messaging on the pack and the bottles that said “100% Recycled Bottle” and “Recycle Me Again,” and DASANI bottles will continue to feature this messaging.

Convenience retailers are turning to sustainable packaging to keep food and drinks fresh and warm. Learn more in the NACS Magazine article “Package Deal,” published in the January 2022 issue.

More than half of all convenience store customers (54%) say they’d like to see more recycling at their local c-store, according to NACS data. NACS offers a resource in partnership with CMI on the value of can and bottle recycling, which offers tips and suggestions for improving current practices, how to effectively communicate the goals of the program with staff and customers, as well as a checklist to help retailers reduce contamination in their recycling bins.