Atlantic Packaging Launches Landmark Closed-Loop Recycling Pilot Program with Coca-Cola Consolidated

Being part of a sustainable future has never been more critical for brands.

Here at A New Earth Project, our every waking moment is spent helping brands make the shift to more sustainable packaging solutions. We’re extremely proud to be the sustainability initiative of Atlantic Packaging, North America’s largest privately held industrial packaging firm, with eight decades in the business.

The packaging industry today faces intense scrutiny, and justifiably so.

A staggering 40% of global plastic waste is attributable to packaging.

For those within the industry, this is a sobering realization.

Over a decade ago, Atlantic Packaging recognized its unique position to address this crisis. The company's success has always been rooted in its technological approach to packaging optimization, prioritizing the principles of material efficiency and sustainability. Using less material is not only cost-effective but also fundamental to sustainability.

Atlantic’s pioneering MUST Stretch Management System revolutionized the use of stretch film, significantly reducing plastic waste in supply chains. Currently, this system prevents over 30 million pounds of plastic from entering the waste stream annually—a milestone that marks just the beginning.

Thanks to Atlantic’s president, Wes Carter, an avid surfer, snowboarder, fisherman, and committed outdoorsman, Atlantic’s focus on sustainability is growing stronger every day. “Somebody told me the other day that sustainability is the second Industrial Revolution, and I really believe that,” says Carter. “I think what we’re going through right now is every bit as impactful, and I think history will show it’s actually way more important.”

In 2023, Carter was appointed to the California SB-54 Packaging Producer Responsibility Advisory Board by CalRecycle. In that role, he’s bringing his company’s eight decades of packaging expertise to advise designers, producers, retailers, municipalities, waste haulers, material sorters, and recyclers on how to design a more circular system for packaging. “Our job is to make sure these regulations are implemented the right way, so this works as intended.”

Atlantic’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Earlier this year, the company earned CDP’s prestigious “A” rating for corporate transparency and climate action, a distinction awarded to only 346 companies worldwide out of 21,000 assessed.

Central to Atlantic’s leadership in sustainability is its state-of-the-art Packaging Solution Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here, a team of expert packaging engineers collaborates with brands to develop optimal and sustainable packaging solutions, fostering strong, trust-based relationships.

Atlantic’s New Pilot Program with Coca-Cola Consolidated Marks Another Milestone

Recently, Atlantic announced a pioneering pilot program with Coca-Cola Consolidated, North America's largest bottler. This initiative aims to further reduce waste within supply chains. The Stretch Film Recycling Program creates post-consumer resin (PCR) from used stretch film, reclaiming high-quality film for new applications. This process not only reduces carbon emissions but also significantly decreases the reliance on virgin materials.

This partnership with Coca-Cola Consolidated, built on the foundation of the MUST program, exemplifies the potential of business-to-business collaboration in achieving sustainability goals. For Coca-Cola Consolidated, it enhances existing closed-loop systems for cardboard, aluminum, and PET.

The potential for industry-wide change is substantial. Success in this pilot program could set a precedent, influencing best practices across the bottling community and beyond.

“This initiative is fundamentally about doing the right thing,” states Stewart Whitmire, Atlantic Packaging’s VP. “We are committed to taking responsibility for our products well beyond their point of sale. By partnering with our customers, we aim to reclaim materials and transform them into superior products, enabling a true closed-loop operation.”

Are You Ready for Packaging’s Next Wave

At A New Earth Project, we are more than advocates for sustainability; we are partners in achieving it. Our collaboration with Coca-Cola Consolidated exemplifies our ability to help companies navigate the evolving landscape of packaging laws. We are deeply involved and motivated to ensure these changes are implemented effectively.

Regardless of your brand’s size, we offer comprehensive support, utilizing our expertise and advanced technology to tailor solutions to your specific needs.

Supported by a robust network of packaging and material partners, we adopt a collaborative approach to foster a circular economy, where materials are continuously reused, and waste is minimized. We invite you to join us in this mission.

Discover more about our Stretch Film Recycling Program and explore how our innovative solutions can benefit your company.

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