Diageo announces creation of world’s first ever 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle

The world’s first ever 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood

A consortium of global FMCG companies has been created to develop the technology further, including PepsiCo and Unilever



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14 July 2020

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Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, has announced that it has created the world’s first ever 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood. The bottle will debut with Johnnie Walker, the world’s number one Scotch whisky, in early 2021.

It comes as Diageo announces that it has launched a new partnership with Pilot Lite, a venture management company, to launch Pulpex Limited, a new world-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 world leading 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.

Pulpex Limited has developed a ‘first-of-its-kind’ scalable paper-based bottle designed and developed to be 100% 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.

“We’re proud to have created this world first,” said Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability Officer, Diageo PLC. “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’.

Richard Slater, chief R&D officer, Unilever, highlighted how innovation and collaboration are vital in tackling plastic waste. “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,” he said. “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, PepsiCo, said the company is proud to be part of Pulpex, describing the consortium as “well positioned to deliver sustainable packaging at scale and across industries, having impact beyond what any organisation could achieve alone”.

Sandy Westwater, director, Pilot Lite, said the group is thrilled to be working with global brand leaders in the 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,” Westwater said.



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