There is no shortage of waste in the beverage industry. As companies continue to look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and deliver on green technologies, a number of producers have started to use paper or compostable bottles.
Frugalpac, a United Kingdom-based company, recently promoted a bottle made from 94% recycled paper. It contains a thin, food-grade plastic liner that can easily be separated once the bottle is empty for easy recycling.
Rollout into various markets is just beginning, but the company says that Italian vineyard Cantina Goccia is the first to use the packaging. According to Frugalpac, the winery is expected to release “an unwooded Sangiovese red with a hint of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon” in the third quarter of the year.
“When you put this in someone’s hand it feels pleasant, there is an earthiness and warmth to it,” says Malcolm Waugh, chief executive officer of Frugalpac, which also created a low-waste coffee cup. He does not expect it to replace glass in the wine industry anytime soon, but says this “offer[s] a choice to the consumer to decide how they would like to receive their wine.”
The company tested the shelf life of the bottles and found that they perform well for at least a year without degradation to the wine, Waugh says, but he notes that it was not designed for aging or cellaring wines for extended periods of time.
“In 2015, this was just a vision.”—Myriam Shingleton, vice president of product development, Carlsberg Group
Beer and spirits companies are also looking to bring green technology to the bottle.
Denmark’s Carlsberg, one of the world’s largest brewing companies, has been working on a green fiber bottle for several years.
“In 2015, this was just a vision,” says Myriam Shingleton, vice president of product development at Carlsberg Group. “We think we have come quite far on our journey towards a fully biobased and recyclable beer bottle that can contain beer at the strict quality levels we require. The main challenge is to identify a biobased barrier.”
The brewery expects to test launch a fully biobased and recyclable beer bottle in a couple of years and has been working to grow the program with other manufacturers, including the Coca-Cola Company, The Absolut Company and L’Oréal.
“We consider it a journey to help consumers to live more sustainable lives by introducing a range of packaging innovations which will minimize the environmental impact of our beers, while moving quality to an even higher level,” she says.
In early July, Diageo announced it would soon roll out a paper bottle made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards. Made in partnership with Pulpex Limited, a sustainable packaging technology company, it will be fully recyclable in standard waste streams. Other beverage companies, including Unilever and PepsiCo, are also planning to launch bottles based on the company’s design starting in 2021, according to a news release.
“We’re proud to have created this world first,” Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer at Diageo, says in a statement. Johnnie Walker will be the company’s first brand to utilize the bottle. “We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging and this bottle has the potential to be truly ground-breaking.”