Guinness Removes Plastic Packaging From Its Beer Packs

Plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap will be removed from multipacks of Guinness beer, Diageo drink manufacturer has announced.  

The move will also include brands Harp and Smithwick’s.

It is investing £16m in the move and will include the introduction of 100% recyclable and biodegradable cardboard to replace plastic.

This is a reduction of plastic waste that is the equivalent of removing 40 million 50cl plastic bottles from the world which, if laid out in a row, would reach from London to Beijing (8,136km), according to Diageo.

David Cutter, chief sustainability officer and president, Global Supply & Procurement – “Great packaging is essential for our products. Consumers expect our packs to look beautiful, be functional, and sustainable.

The new beer packs will be on shelves on the island of Ireland from August 2019 and from Summer 2020 in Great Britain and other international markets. Individual cans are fully recyclable, including the widget which is contained inside cans of Draught Guinness.

Mark Sandys, global head of beer, Baileys and Smirnoff, said: “We already have one of the most sustainable breweries in the world at St. James’s Gate and we are now leading the way in sustainable packaging. This is good news for the brand, for our wider beer portfolio and for the environment.”

David Cutter, chief sustainability officer and president, Global Supply & Procurement, said: “Great packaging is essential for our products. Consumers expect our packs to look beautiful, be functional, and sustainable. I am proud to announce this investment, through which we have been able to combine all three. We have been working tirelessly to make our packaging more environmentally friendly and I’m thrilled with this outcome for Guinness and our other global beer brands.”

Currently, under 5% of Diageo’s total packaging around the world is plastic and in 2018, it announced new plastics targets from 2025 and beyond.

Our global plastics targets for 2025

  • Ensure 100% of our plastic use is designed to be widely recyclable (or reusable/compostable), using plastics that allow for increased consumer recycling rates
  • Achieve 40% average recycled content in our plastic bottles – and 100% by 2030 
  • Continue to invest in circular economy opportunities and other sustainable packaging breakthroughs
  • Accelerate our support for recycling by increasing collaboration, particularly where we have influence, and engaging with Governments, peers and consumers to facilitate improved recycling.

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