Diageo creates ‘world’s first’ paper-based spirits bottle

13 July 2020

Diageo claims it has developed the world’s first paper-based and 100% plastic-free spirits bottle.

The drinks giant partnered with venture management company Pilot Lite to launch sustainable packaging technology company Pulpex Limited and develop the paper-based bottle.

The bottle is made from sustainably-sourced pulp to meet international food-safe standards and will be fully recyclable. It will debut with Johnnie Walker whisky in 2021.

Pulpex’s bottle-making technology will allow it to produce a variety of plastic-free, single mould bottles that can be used to contain a variety of liquid products.

“The technology will allow brands to rethink their packaging designs, or move existing designs into paper, whilst not compromising on the existing quality of the product,” Diageo said. 

Pulpex has also established a partner consortium with consumer brands Unilever and PepsiCo, who are each expecting to launch their own branded paper bottles in 2021.

Richard Slater, chief R&D officer at Unilever, said: “We believe in tackling plastic waste through innovation and collaboration. We are going to halve our use of virgin plastic at Unilever, reducing our 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.”

Simon Lowden, chief sustainability officer at PepsiCo, added: “Innovative solutions and partnerships 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 an impact beyond what any organisation could achieve alone.”

Last year, Carlsberg unveiled two prototypes for its green fibre bottle which are made from sustainably sourced wood fibres. 

It was joined by brands such as Absolut, Coca-Cola and L’Oreal to form a “paper bottle community” to “develop and design their own paper bottle to meet the needs of their category”.

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