Schoeller Allibert and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners have developed a circular crate solution

Iconic red crates now made from 97% recycled plastic

Iconic red crates now made from 97% recycled plastic 
© Schoeller Allibert GmbH Austria
Source:  Company news

Schoeller Allibert, a global leader in sustainable packaging solutions, has teamed up with Coca-Cola Europacific Partners and recycler Healix to take another step towards a circular economy and sustainable reusable packaging. Schoeller Allibert’s Material Innovation department has developed a cutting-edge material mixture that allows the iconic red hospitality crates to be produced with 97% recycled plastic. This development is estimated to save 64%2 CO2 emissions in crate production compared to crates made from virgin plastic.

The Netherlands leads the way as the first country to implement this in the soft drink/beverage industry. Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) Netherlands is committed to reducing the use of virgin plastic and already sources the majority of its plastic from recycled materials, including plastic bottles (excluding caps and labels) and transportation packaging.

In the Netherlands, the Coca-Cola bottler is now implementing a further initiative for wholesalers and Horeca markets. The famous red beverage crates, which are specifically designed for returnable glass bottles, are now being manufactured in accordance with the principles of the circular economy: with 97% recycled plastic.

As a pioneer in the field of beverage crate production, Schoeller Allibert is the ideal partner to pull out all the stops in this area.

“These crates have an average lifespan of 15 years, and it's not uncommon to find them still in use after 20 to 30 years,” says Eva Amsterdam, Sustainability Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners. “However, if they do break down, they can now serve as input for new crates.”

Cutting-edge technologies to reduce plastic waste
Schoeller Allibert has developed an innovative technology and production by which used beverage crates can be recycled in order to facilitate the production of new crates from the recycled material. The latest crates are composed of 97% recycled material consisting of 85% general old red crates, like those from CCEP, and 15% plastic that is typically challenging to recycle – in this case old tulip nets recycled by Healix.

“Although the majority of the recycled plastic utilized for the crates originates from general red recycling crates and not specifically from our crates, we have taken measures to ensure that the typical red remains discernible. This is achieved through a subtle ‘swirl’ effect in the color. This reduces plastic waste during production.” states Julie De Bruyckere, Key Account Manager, Schoeller Allibert.

The new recycled crates have been extensively tested at the Schoeller Allibert test center in Hardenberg and found to be just as sturdy as the current ones4. They are ready to last for years and years.

Julie De Bruyckere shares her excitement about the collaboration. “Thanks to our groundbreaking material innovation, Schoeller Allibert is revolutionizing the production of beverage crates by harnessing previously untapped streams of recycled materials. This significant step not only reduces CO2 emissions but also aligns with our commitment to pushing the sustainability agenda further together with our customers. To achieve this, we have developed cutting-edge technologies that expand the possibilities of color variations in the materials we utilize.

Marcel Alberts, founder of Healix, shares his enthusiasm about the collaboration: “It is great to see how a large, international company like Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Netherlands is committed to sustainability and innovation and is looking for local support. By making new raw materials from discarded nets, we contribute to reducing plastic waste and creating valuable materials for new products that can last for years to come.”

On the road to climate neutrality
This year alone, the Dutch market will gradually witness the introduction of 150,000 crates made from recycled plastic. Existing crates will continue to be in circulation until they are ready to be replaced by the new, recycled crates. As the transition progresses with each new crate purchase.

This partnership with Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Netherlands represents a step in the journey towards fostering sustainability and circularity while setting new industry standards. Schoeller Allibert’s material innovation isn’t just a local success story—but can also serve as a model for others.

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