Paper bottles: the future of beverage packaging?

Friday, 17 July, 2020

Paper bottles: the future of beverage packaging?

Diageo has created a 100% plastic-free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood. The bottle will debut with Johnnie Walker scotch whisky in early 2021. This comes after Diageo’s partnership with Pilot Lite, a venture management company, to launch Pulpex Limited, a sustainable packaging technology company.

Pulpex Limited has established a partner consortium of leading FMCG companies in non-competing categories including Unilever, and PepsiCo, with further partners to be announced later in the year. The goal of the consortium is to ensure that the technology is developed so it can be used across industries. The consortium partners are expecting to launch their own branded paper bottles, based on Pulpex Limited’s design and technology, in 2021.

“We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging and this bottle has the potential to be truly groundbreaking,” said Ewan Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer, Diageo.

Pulpex Limited has developed a scalable paper-based bottle designed and developed to be 100% plastic-free. The bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards and will be fully recyclable in standard waste streams. The technology will allow brands to rethink their packaging designs, or move existing designs into paper, while not compromising on the quality of the product.

PepsiCo has also developed and scaled a recyclable paper bottle, initially developed by Diageo and Pilot Lite. PepsiCo is working on developing innovative solutions through partnerships with Pulpex Limited, Carbios Consortium on enzymatic recycling, NaturALL Bottle Alliance to develop a renewable bottle and Danimer Scientific to develop compostable and bio-based flex films.

PepsiCo expects to test its own branded paper bottles, based on Pulpex Limited’s design and technology, in 2021. Through this innovative effort, PepsiCo is closer to achieving its goal of reducing virgin plastic content across its beverage business by 35% by 2025. The company is also working to make 100% of its packaging recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.

“Innovative solutions and partnership are critical to driving meaningful progress toward a circular economy. The Pulpex consortium is well positioned to deliver sustainable packaging at scale and across industries, having impact beyond what any organisation could achieve alone. We’re proud to be a part of it,” said Simon Lowden, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo.

Pulpex Limited’s technology can produce a variety of plastic-free, single mould bottles that can be used across a range of consumer goods. The packaging is designed to contain a range of liquid bottles and will form part of Diageo’s commitment towards Goal 12 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’.

Richard Slater, Chief R&D Officer at Unilever, stated that the company plans to halve its use of virgin plastic and reduce its use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes in the next five years.

“Joining forces to develop and test paper bottles is an incredibly exciting step forward, and we’re delighted to be working together to tackle one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time,” Slater said.

Image credit: © Africa

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