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Coca Cola Pioneers Lighter Can

Drinks giant Coca Cola has managed to shave 5 percent off the weight of its cans in a move set to save 15,000 tonnes of aluminum in the European Union (EU) each year.

With such a major player in the soft drinks industry adopting the new design there has been a knock-on effect, with the United Kingdom government's Waste and Recycling Action Program (WRAP) saying the new specification has already set a new standard across the industry.

Already, 6.5 billion of the new, light-weight cans have hit shop shelves throughout the EU.

A WRAP report into the new specification can suggests it will cut emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 78,000 tonnes per year as raw materials and energy used in their manufacture and transport are reduced.

"This work has changed the design of aluminum drinks cans forever,” said Hubert Patricot, Coca-Cola’s European president. "We are committed to improving the sustainability of our business all the time. This project is delivering a significant reduction to the packaging carbon footprint of our business across Europe."

The weight reductions have been made by using thinner sheets of metal to make the sides of the can.

In the new cans, the metal is now less than a tenth of a millimeter thick -- about as thick as a human hair.

The cans are just as strong as before.

"We are delighted to have achieved such ground breaking results and it just shows what cross-industry partnership working can deliver,” said Richard Swannell, WRAP’s director of retail. "Smarter packaging can deliver not only tangible cost savings to the supply chain, but also environmental benefits that help Europe tackle the joint challenges of climate change and resource efficiency."

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