The Creative Circus: Kelly Vinsant, Nia Palee NkosiHome
The mini Coca-Cola 6-pack has quickly become one of Coke’s most popular value packs. Unfortunately, the current way of packaging the mini cans is not as environmentally friendly as it could be. The plastic rings are recyclable, but the discussion around recycling different types of thin plastics is confusing, leaving people unsure. Erring on the side of caution, they throw them in the trash instead. To make matters worse, the rings often make their way to the ocean and can be dangerous to wildlife, especially turtles and birds who can get the rings wrapped around their necks.
In addition to environmental concerns, the customer must also be considered. Currently, carrying the mini 6-pack is not necessarily a comfortable experience. The cans are lightweight, but it’s not easy to carry them by the hi-cone. Walking out of the store with only a 6-pack, a customer is more likely to opt for a plastic bag rather than cradling the cans or using two hands to carry them. Providing a more convenient option is friendlier to the customer and has the potential to further reduce waste.
In short, we wanted to switch to a more environmentally-friendly material and make the 6-pack easier to carry, while still using as little overall material as possible. Our solution was to use paperboard to create a simple carrying handle that’s easy to lift, and attach it to the cans using a special adhesive created in Denmark. This adhesive is strong enough to endure shipping, stacking, and carrying, but twists off easily when it’s time to crack open a can.
Paperboard is already in widespread use by Coca-Cola, making a switch to this material both simple and financially efficient. Consumers are widely aware that it’s recyclable, and are far more likely to recycle it automatically. But just to be sure, we included the recycling symbol on the handle. And even if it makes it to the ocean instead, it’s largely biodegradable, non-toxic, and poses no immediate danger to wildlife.