Plastics Recycling Update

Coca-Cola introduces APR-influenced sleeve label

Coca-Cola has released its first bottle with a shrink-sleeve label that was designed to meet guidelines outlined by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR).

The holiday-themed Orb bottle is exclusive to Walmart stores and will serve as a test of the new design process and material composition. A spokesperson for Coca-Cola says that if the pilot goes well, the floatable label technology will be incorporated into the beverage company’s other shrink-sleeve bottles. The pilot Orb packaging is being used for the company’s flagship Coke brand.

APR’s guidelines specify several tests with both bottles containing sleeve labels and plain bottles to ensure bottles can be successfully processed, and additionally, discourages the use of adhesives in the label.

In addition to testing the Orb bottle using APR’s design guideline tests, Coca-Cola sent bottles to two plastics recycling facilities to see how they would perform in real-world processing conditions.

“We believe that changing this label is part of the overall solution for shrink-sleeve labels, but there are no silver bullets,” says Jeffrey Meyers, packaging sustainability manager for Coca-Cola North America. “However, we believe our new label is a large step forward for the industry.”

The Orb bottle hit store shelves Nov. 18, and will be available “for several months.”

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