Established cycles shape thinking at Coca-Cola
As long as image and real life cycle assessment are unequal brothers, a solution found is not really sustainable. Rather, it marks a transition and an emergency solution in disruptive times.
From an ecological point of view, it makes no sense to replace a few grams of shrink film with a multiple of cardboard. Nevertheless, Coca-Cola European Partners is now following this path with its can multipacks. The image is the lead here. And existing cycles exert agenda-setting power.
The changeover will start in the UK. More than 30 million can multipacks are sold there every year. In addition to the complete Coca-Cola product range, the changeover also affects Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Lilt.
Previously, the multipacks of shrink film were covered. The material used was minimal and the film used was recyclable. From an ecological point of view, it makes little sense to switch to cardboard that has a multiple of material and weight.
One reason why the company is still pressing ahead with the changeover is the meagre collection rate for shrink films in the UK. According to Coca-Cola, these are only collected in 10 percent of communities, whereas cardboard is collected in 98 percent of communities. It is clear how strong the design power of established, already functioning cycles is: they shape thinking and decisions.
One can perceive the upheaval, the digital transformation and the circular economy as a time of uncertainty – or as a time for new opportunities and possibilities. It is therefore essential that the sustainability aspect of packaging is taken into account, planned and implemented holistically from the very first product idea.
Since it is our mission at B+P to close cycles by helping companies prepare themselves for the circular economy, I find it exciting to find out what you think about this topic. Leave a comment below.