THAILAND – One bottled water brand, “Namthip” from The Coca-Cola Company, has been gaining increasing popularity in Thailand since its relaunch in 2012 not only for its premium product, but also its packaging’s special sustainable features.
A premium water brand under the Coca-Cola system in Thailand with a history of over 34 years, Namthip was first introduced in 1978 by Coke’s local bottling partner ThaiNamthip Ltd in a returnable glass bottle. In 1998, Namthip started to market in a rectangular 500 ml PET bottle. Assignment of the trademark “Namthip” was made between ThaiNamthip Co., Ltd. and Coca-Cola (Thailand) Ltd. in early 2001 - the same year Namthip was reintroduced in new PET packaging, changing from rectangular to a tall cylindrical bottle and increasing in size from 500ml to 600 ml.
In January 2012, the Coke relaunched the water brand ‘Namthip’ with a new look and concept that goes beyond drinking water. Part of Coke’s commitment to develop sustainable packaging with values for future use, the new ‘Namthip’ comes with an attractive green leaf design logo and cleverly designed ‘Eco-Crush’ bottle.
The Eco-Crush bottle technology
Made of super lightweight PET, the Eco-Crush bottle is an adaption of innovative design from Coke’s global packaging R&D center. A new, state-of-the-art, high-speed BHT 700 million production line technology called ‘Nitro-Fill’ is used to produce the bottles at a rate of 1,200 units per minute, making it one of Coke’s fastest lines in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
The bottle uses 35% less plastic when compared to the previous design. This, according to research conducted by the Thammasat University, makes the Eco-Crush bottle the lightest weight PET bottle produced in Thailand at just 10.7g for 550ml bottle. Yet despite its lightness, the Eco-Crush bottle maintains the highest standards of design and durability.
The Nitro-Fill production line - which is installed at ThaiNamthip’s plant in Pathum Thani - manages the Namthip process from beginning to end. At the beginning of the production line, pre-form plastic capsules are heated and blown by high-temperature air, much like glass-blowing, into the Namthip Eco-Crush bottle shapes.
Once formed, they are then filled with drinking water further down the line. After that, the remaining space in the bottles is filled with Nitrogen gas to optimize their strength and durability, then the caps are fastened on and all the bottles are examined for quality. Bottles that pass the quality scans are then routed further down the line for labelling.
The final step in the process is packaging the bottles for shipment and delivery. In comparison to the previous production system, overall energy consumption of the Nitro-Fill line is 6% lower. Due to the Eco-Crush bottle’s significantly lighter weight, fuel consumption during delivery is 0.0041 litres less per bottle, saving approximately 1.862 million litres of petrol per year.
After the product has been consumed, the Eco-Crush bottle can be easily crushed to reduce its size and make it easier for waste collection and disposal. As the bottle uses clear PET, it does not need to be segregated by color prior to recycling. Not only does this increase efficiency in recycling and save time and expense, the quality of recycling produced is similar to virgin plastic.
Eco-Crush initiative enhances brand image
Namthip’s Eco-Crush bottle and its sustainable packaging features have helped enhance the bottled water brand’s image. According to Tanant Suwanraks, marketing manage of New Business Development of Coca-Cola (Thailand), a survey conducted shortly after the launch of the Eco-Crush bottled showed that 63% of respondents felt Namthip was different from other bottled-water products. When the topic of bottled water was raised, up to 70% of respondents thought of Namthip.
“Our product makes one think,” said Tanant, “Consumers feel good about saving the environment.”
This sustainable packaging technology is available not just in Thailand. While the term used for the local Namthip bottle initiative is branded “Eco-Crush”, the super lightweight crushable bottle has also been launched under different brand names in other countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam.