Paper-based alternative

Local Coca-Cola bottler to replace 200,000 pounds of plastic a year with WestRock paper packaging solution

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages, a local Coca-Cola bottler serving Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City, and WestRock, a provider of sustainable paper and packaging solutions, will collaborate to implement a paperboard carrier that replaces plastic rings for its multipack bottled beverages.

WestRock’s PETCollar Shield Plus paper-based packaging will be used at Liberty’s Philadelphia production facility to package Coca-Cola’s top brands in multipacks. The 12 ounce (355 millileter) and 16.9 ounce (500 milliliter) products packaged with the durable, easy-to-hold carriers will be distributed throughout Liberty’s multi-state territory. Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages will be the first bottler in the world to implement the PETCollar Shield Plus bottle clip solution.

“We’ve made it our mission to invest in technology that produces recyclable beverage containers that can return to our system while significantly reducing the need for secondary plastic packaging,” said Fran McGorry, co-owner of Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages. “We know the most valuable change to reduce plastic waste occurs when bottlers and packaging producers work together. We are proud to partner with WestRock to make this change.”

Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages expects to have the new paperboard carrier packaging system installed and operating by summer 2024. Once installed, the packaging system will add to the local bottler’s paperboard packaging for mini-cans, implemented in 2022. Both packaging systems combined are expected to replace 200,000 pounds of plastic a year from Liberty’s footprint.

PETCollar Shield Plus is a paperboard multipack carrier and part of WestRock’s PETCollar product family, which includes multipack clip solutions in a variety of sizes, designs and configurations for bundled bottles.

“Our partners at Liberty Coca-Cola continue to push the boundaries by promoting secondary packaging alternatives to plastic throughout their operations while meeting the diverse needs of their consumer base,” said Sam Shoemaker, president, Consumer Packaging, WestRock. “We share their commitment to innovation and look forward to supporting their ambitious sustainability goals.”

Committing to implement the PETCollar Shield Plus packaging is the latest move Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages is making to advance its sustainability efforts. Along with being the first bottler in the United States to replace plastic rings for mini-cans, Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages was among the first Coca-Cola bottlers to produce and distribute bottles made from 100% recycled plastic (excluding cap and label) in the United States. It has also installed a sustainable compacter that significantly reduces the bottler’s carbon footprint and processes large volumes of full plastic and aluminum containers for recycling.

“We are passionate about making investments in the communities we serve,” said Paul Mulligan, co-owner of Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages. “We truly care about the environment, and we will continue to invest in systems that raise the bar for the entire industry. We want to lead by example and do the right thing.”

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