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Diageo reveals 'world first' plastic-free paper-based bottle

Diageo has revealed plans to start using a sustainable bottle for its spirits, starting with Johnnie Walker.

Published: July 13, 2020
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Diageo, makers of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, has announced that it has created the world’s first ever 100 per cent plastic free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood.

The bottle will debut with Johnnie Walker in early 2021.

The pioneering development is the result of a partnership with Diageo and Pilot Lite, a venture management company, to launch Pulpex Limited - a new, leading sustainable packaging technology company.

To ensure that the technology can be used in every area of life, Pulpex Limited has established a partner consortium of FMCG companies in non-competing categories including Unilever and PepsiCo, with further partners expected to be announced later in the year.

The consortium partners are each expecting to launch their own branded paper bottles, based on Pulpex Limited’s design and technology, in 2021.

The paper-based bottles

Pulpex Limited has developed a ‘first-of-its-kind’ scalable paper-based bottle designed and developed to be 100 per cent plastic free and expected to be fully recyclable.

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, whilst not compromising on the existing quality of the product.

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Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer at Diageo PLC, said: “We’re proud to have created this world first. We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging and this bottle has the potential to be truly ground-breaking.

"It feels fitting that we should launch it with Johnnie Walker, a brand that has often led the way in innovation throughout its 200 years existence.”

Pulpex Limited’s technology allows it to produce a variety of plastic-free, single mould bottles that can be used across a range of consumer goods.

The packaging has been designed to contain a variety of liquid products and will form part of Diageo’s commitment towards Goal 12 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’.

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Richard Slater, chief research and development 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 impact beyond what any organization could achieve alone. We’re proud to be a part of it.”

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Sandy Westwater, director at Pilot Lite said: “We’re thrilled to be working with global brand leaders in this consortium.

"By working together, we can use the collective power of the brands to help minimise the environmental footprint of packaging by changing manufacturing and consumer behaviours.”

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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