Growing beer bottles on trees
The Carlsberg Group is working with Paboco and Avantium to produce its biodegradable and recyclable Fibre Bottle. The brewery has been working on producing a sustainable plant-based bottle since 2015 and now they are set to be trialled in eight European markets. If all goes well with the trial, the bottles will be widely launched in the future.
The bottle consists of three components, which are all recyclable:
- The fibre-based shell of the bottle is made by Paboco from a sustainably-sourced wood fibre, which serves as insulation to keep the beer cool and protected.
- A standard bottle cap is used to keep the beer fresh but fibre-based options are being explored for use in the future.
- The bottle has a PEF-based lining produced from plant-based materials and developed by Avantium. The PEF layer functions as a barrier between the beer and the fibre outer shell, and offers protection for the beverage’s taste and fizziness. Carlsberg claims this layer performs better than conventional petroleum-based PET plastic.
Stephane Munch, VP Group Development at Carlsberg, said: “We are delighted to bring our new Fibre Bottle into the hands of consumers, allowing them to experience it for themselves. This pilot will serve a greater purpose in testing the production, performance and recycling of this product at scale.
“Identifying and producing PEF, as a competent functional barrier for beer, has been one of our greatest challenges — so getting good test results, collaborating with suppliers and seeing the bottles being filled on the line is a great achievement!”
The bottle is also being filled with sustainably grown beer due to a partnership with barley malt supplier Soufflet. The beer’s barley is being cultivated using organic and regenerative agricultural practices, with cover crops being used to boost the health of the soil used for barley growing.
Based on current projections, the emissions of the Fibre Bottle will be 80% less than single-use glass bottles and the aim is to achieve the same carbon footprint as a refillable glass bottle. Carlsberg is hoping that when it is commercialised and widely produced, the bottle will complement, rather than replace, existing packaging like glass bottles and cans.
“The progress made with our new Fibre Bottle is testament to Carlsberg’s pioneering spirit, with a focus on making better products in every sense of the word,” said Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, Group Sustainability Director at Carlsberg.
“We’ve been working hard on this project since 2015, and aim to continue to set the industry standard by further improving the bottle’s environmental footprint and product performance. Collaboration is key and, together with our partners, we’re excited to see how research and development into sustainable packaging solutions is now becoming the norm.”
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