The story of Absolut Paper and the vision to create a recyclable and fully bio-based paper bottle continues with PABOCO. We’ve heard rumors of significant progress in the project, so who better to talk to than The Absolut Company’s Future of Packaging Director Louise Werner?
WE’RE TOLD YOU HAVE NEWS FROM THE PABOCO COMMUNITY REGARDING THE PAPER BOTTLE. WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE IT WITH US?
Yes, we recently reached a significant milestone. We have managed to integrate the barrier – the coating that separates the fluid from the paper – into the paper itself. We can use much less barrier material and start testing different bio-based solutions with an integrated barrier.
WILL THE PAPER BOTTLE STILL BE RECYCLABLE? WILL IT BE PLASTIC-FREE?
Yes, it will be recycled as paper. The recycling rate of paper is 70 percent worldwide and separating paper from other materials is nothing new for the recycling industry. That is important because when we can integrate the barrier, we are testing different bio-based coatings, including bio-plastics. The important thing here is to use as little barrier material as possible and still ensure good product quality.
THE IMPORTANT THING HERE IS TO USE AS LITTLE BARRIER MATERIAL AS POSSIBLE AND STILL ENSURE GOOD PRODUCT QUALITY.
WHAT INPUT DID YOU GET FROM THE CONSUMERS WHO TESTED THE BOTTLE EARLIER THIS YEAR?
What satisfies me the most is that virtually everyone asked how they should recycle the bottle. It shows that people care just as much as we do. And although it’s nothing less than what we expect from our consumers, I’m still pleased that they are on board with our vision of having a fully recyclable bottle.
The bottle also has an exceptional touch and feel, with a smooth surface and detailed design elements. People said they appreciated that and recognized the high level of innovation that has been put into developing the bottle. They said it was in line with the Absolut brand.
HOW HAS THE PABOCO PARTNERSHIP HELPED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BOTTLE?
We are already two years into development, but we’re constantly learning from each other. We share insights on everything that can help push the product forward, like how new barrier materials perform, how consumers react to the bottle and how well the production lines manage to adapt to entirely new packaging. Thanks to our diverse needs and expertise, all companies involved in the Paboco Community contribute in different ways to make sure we will have the most durable and sustainable bottle out there.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE PAPER BOTTLE?
With this significant milestone achieved, we are eager to test the bottle further. We test it both in labs to ensure it’s durable over time and with consumers to ensure it’s appreciated and possible for a large-scale launch. We’re also looking forward to exploring bio-based materials that could work as a barrier inside the bottle.
THE BOTTLE ALSO HAS A VERY SPECIAL TOUCH AND FEEL TO IT, WITH A SMOOTH SURFACE AND DETAILED DESIGN ELEMENTS.
HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO ACHIEVING THE GOAL OF A RECYCLABLE AND FULLY BIO-BASED PAPER BOTTLE?
Integrating the coating into the paper is a huge step forward, and for the first time, we are showing a prototype very close to our final vision. But we still have some important goals, like scaling the technology and quality testing of the integrated bio-based material that will replace the plastic film we use today. That is not done overnight, though, so we’re still at least a year from seeing it on shelves.