For those brands selling millions of units of product each year, no aspect of packaging is too small to consider when looking for sustainability benefits.One such company is The Coca-Cola Co., which is using a multi-pronged strategy around packaging to meet its World Without Waste sustainability goals. One of these goals is to make its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025.
Coca-Cola’s Dasani water brand has some pretty impressive sustainability cred: Since 2011, the PET bottle has been made from up to 30% plant-based bioplastic. Even with this technology, the bottle is still fully recyclable—a very important factor for Coca-Cola when it began incorporating the bio-based resin.
In September 2018, Dasani began working with Multi-Color Corp. to make changes to another component of its plastic bottle packaging that, while it may seem less significant, led to major sustainability gains. At the suggestion of Multi-Color, Dasani replaced the multilayer label it was using with a thinner, monolayer film made from biaxially oriented polypropylene. The clear, solid-core BOPP label is just 120 microns thick and can be easily removed during the bottle wash stage of PET recycling.
“The monolayer labels offer several benefits compared to standard two-ply roll-fed constructions,” says Carey Yelton, National Account Manager for Multi-Color Corp. “These benefits include increased sustainability, enhanced operational efficiency, and cost savings opportunities.”
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Zen Kramer, Associate Brand Manager, Dasani, Coca-Cola North America, explains the benefits of the monolayer label in more detail: “The new lightweight mono labels allow for additional labels per roll [there are 2,000 more on a roll of 500-mL labels] and a reduced processing footprint by removing a lamination step.
“In terms of sustainability, the monolayer labels are more sustainable versus multilayer labels since they use fewer raw materials for production, resulting in an overall reduction of our package’s environmental footprint.
“As for cost savings, the reduction of an additional layer of film results in cost savings for the brand through the use of less plastic and lowered conversion rates.”
At the same time, Yelton adds, the monolayer labels provide Dasani with the same functionality and appearance as the multilayer version they replace. “The Dasani labels are printed in a gravure format, which provides best-in-print quality and more consistent label length repeats for application,” he notes.
Dasani introduced the new monolayer label on all its bottles in June 2019. Shares Kramer, “The transition to monolayer labels allowed Dasani to advance its sustainability agenda as part of a World Without Waste, while also presenting a costs savings opportunity to our business. Working with Multi-Color Corp. allowed for a seamless transition to the new label technology and helped continue a partnership focused on innovation and efficiency.”