As part of its commitment to replace plastic wrap on all can multipacks in its EU markets, Coca-Cola HBC has commenced the rollout of a paperboard alternative – KeelClip.

The company predicts that this move, which was originally announced last year, will save more than 3,000 metric tonnes of CO2 and 2,000 metric tonnes of plastic each year.

The new solution came about as a result of a €15 million investment by the Coca-Cola HBC in a strategic partnership with Graphic Packaging International, and forms part of a wider commitment by Coca-Cola HBC and its partner The Coca-Cola Company to build a more sustainable approach to packaging.

The roll out across all the company’s EU markets plus Switzerland will be complete by early 2022, slightly behind its initial target of late 2021.

As part of its initial agreement with Graphic Packaging, Coca-Cola HBC will install 11 KeelClip machines in seven countries, which will supply the solution across all its EU markets.

Marcel Martin, group supply chain director at Coca-Cola HBC, said: “By investing in this innovative new technology we are directly supporting our customers and their consumers by providing a more sustainable packaging format.  At the same time, we are delivering on our commitment to make a more positive environmental impact.”

Steve Gould, new product development and marketing director of Graphic Packaging’s beverage division, added: “We are committed to working with Coca-Cola HBC to deliver this exciting innovation. We will continue to support the ongoing rollout and commercialization across Coca-Cola HBC’s EU markets and are delighted to be partners in this endeavor.”

Giving the perspective of a major retailer, Alan Crawford, trading director at SPAR/EUROSPAR Ireland, said: “Coca-Cola HBC has taken a leadership position in the soft drink category, introducing a really new and exciting type of packaging.

“The move to the new KeelClip and paperboard packaging will eliminate a significant amount of packaging from our supply chain which is very important for us as an organisation and the environment we operate within. The appearance of the multipack cans in KeelClip packaging is also more attractive to our customers, so we expect the change to support increased sales as well as taking an important sustainability position.”