Paper bottles beating an old plastic habit

What’s the design in a nutshell?
The Paboco paper bottle is not only a sustainable alternative to its plastic counterparts but an ambitious new type of packaging. The company behind it, Paper Bottle Company, wants to pioneer a transformation in the packaging industry by creating community and becoming the consumer choice.

Why is it needed?
The plastic bottle is the key symbol of our world’s ongoing plastic pollution problem. Only one out of five plastic bottles get recycled, and the rest, about 1,500 every second, end up in landfills, nature or our oceans. Since it takes about 400-700 years for a PET bottle to decompose, these plastic throw-aways are polluting our oceans and damaging ecosystems. 

With more than 1.3 billion plastic bottles being sold every day, there’s a desperate need for minimising waste and non-renewable materials. And mostly, we are in need of collective action from the industry’s big players.

How does it work?
At first glance, it’s a bottle made from paper, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. It’s made from completely recyclable materials and suitable for liquid goods. Every detail of this bottle is thought through and designed in a way to make Paboco the most innovative and viable solution for the world’s packaging needs.

Paboco’s first-generation bottle concept is still partly paper and partly recyclable plastic – a film barrier that has a 58% smaller CO2 footprint than a PET used for the same product. But it’s the next and following paper bottle generations with a biobased integrated barrier, which they’re hoping to have ready in 2023, that will create a truly sustainable alternative.

"What makes Paboco special is its ambition to create systemic change."

How does it improve life?
What makes Paboco special is its ambition to create systemic change. Their Paper Bottle Project involves global partnerships and collaborations and the long-term goal is to have paper bottle packaging for all our favourite products in every consumer’s hand. With deep roots in research and product development, they know how to approach and create a turning point.

“By changing the bottle industry for good, we don't think we can save the world but we have the opportunity to impact people's choice of sustainable packaging and indirectly spark the beginning of an everyday movement,” says Gittan Schiöld, CCO and Interim CEO at Paboco.

What’s the impact to date or projected impact?
The Paboco bottle is not an industry-standard just yet, but it’s being put to the test. This summer, Coca-Cola launches its prototype of their paper bottle for consumer testing in Hungary. Working with Coca-Cola is an example of how The Paper Bottle Project is an innovation community joining some of the world's leading players in materials, design and technology (The Absolut Company, Carlsberg Group and L’Oréal) to name a few, with the common goal of creating the world’s first 100% bio-based and recyclable paper bottle.