Coca-Cola bottler removes plastic with launch of fiber-based multi-pack in the US

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

The KeelClip packaging. Pic: Graphic Packaging International
The KeelClip packaging. Pic: Graphic Packaging International

Related tags Coca-cola Plastic Us

Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages will start using Graphic Packaging International's fiber-based KeelClip solution for multi-pack packaging: making it the first in the US to do so.

The KeelClip packaging uses fiber-based packaging for can multipacks, eliminating the need for plastic rings and shrink wrap. It was launched in Europe in 2019​ and has now been used with more than 550 million packs worldwide, including Coca-Cola in Europe.

It is estimated to have saved more than 3 million pounds of plastic in 2021.

A new KeelClip 1600 multipacking machine at Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages’ Elmsford, NY production facility is the first to be installed in the US. As the local bottler for northeastern US, Liberty will use the KeelClip with its products in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Delaware.

This transition will remove 75,000 pounds of plastic packaging per year from the supply chain for approximately 3.1 million cases.

“Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages is thrilled to be Graphic Packaging’s first partner in the United States to implement this innovative packaging system,” ​said Paul Mulligan, co-owner of Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages.

“We are committed to producing sustainable products across our territories that eliminate waste and develop a circular economy. We know that the most valuable change to reduce plastic waste occurs when bottlers and packaging producers work together in partnership, and we look forward to partnering with Graphic Packaging on this sustainable packaging for years to come.”

Bret Arnone, vice president, commercial operations & beverage packaging at Graphic Packaging, said: “This technology has seen incredible success wherever it has been used, winning 10 industry awards and becoming the gold standard for can multipacks in over 20 countries. Most importantly, it’s proven to help our commercial partners reduce their reliance on plastics for a more sustainable future.”

As well as reducing plastic, KeelClip lists its benefits as including enhanced hygiene (as can tops are protected by the fiber packaging), plus easy-to-remove cans and finger holes for ergonomic carrying. The assembly process also enables cans to be oriented for optimal brand presence.

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