Coca-Cola, in partnership with bottling partners Coca-Cola HBC and Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has today announced the roll-out of KeelClip, a minimalist paperboard packaging solution for multipack cans, across Europe, beginning early next year.

KeelClip was developed by Graphic Packaging International and is a replacement for the plastic shrink film often used to package non-alcoholic drinks. The paperboard packaging solution also minimises the amount of paper and card required and is a first for the non-alcohol ready-to-drink industry.

The packaging will be used for all multipacks of up to eight cans with larger can multipacks packaged using a carton pack.

Graphic Packaging International Europe beverage division new product development and marketing director Steve Gould said: “The KeelClip technology is effective for can multipacks of various diameters and heights. This means that we can provide a safe, effective package with no need for secondary plastic. When businesses such as Coca-Cola HBC and Coca-Cola European Partners invest in these technologies, we can really make a difference to the way we package goods and drive the industry to continue to change too.”

As part of this partnership, Coca-Cola HBC has invested €15m in KeelClip, removing plastic shrink wrap from all its multipack cans across all European Union markets by the end of 2021. Starting with Ireland and Poland, Coca-Cola HBC’s roll-out will later expand to Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Romania.

The company said that this move will save 2,000 tonnes of plastic and 3,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Coca-Cola HBC group supply chain director Marcel Martin said: “KeelClip is our latest investment in innovative, sustainable packaging solutions. Alongside the four water brands we introduced this year in 100% recycled PET bottles, the increased use of recycled PET and continued light-weighting across the portfolio, KeelClip is another demonstration of our commitment to delivering our World Without Waste goals.”

CCEP will start its roll-out in the Netherlands, with more markets to follow. The company has already invested €14m in its Dongen, Netherlands factory to install a new can line and a KeelClip packaging machine.

In October this year, CCEP committed to removing all unnecessary or hard-to-recycle plastic from its packaging.

Coca-Cola European Partners sustainability vice president Joe Franses said: “Innovation is a key principle of our sustainable packaging work and the application of this fully recyclable paperboard KeelClip, which comprises a top board that the cans clip into and a central cardboard ‘keel’ – similar to a ship’s keel – that stabilises the pack, is another example of how we are delivering on our commitment to remove all unnecessary and hard to recycle single-use plastic from our products.”

The Coca-Cola Company introduced its global World Without Waste initiative in 2018. The system-wide effort was designed to produce more recyclable packaging, increase collection and partner with communities, NGO and competitors to reduce packaging waste.