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  • Writer's pictureWorld Half Full

Majors brew up greener beers


Dutch brewer Heineken has revealed plans to replace the plastic shrink wrap from its multipack cans with recyclable cardboard. Also gone are the plastic rings (“can yokes”) binding the cans together. Announcing a total investment of £22 million in new production technology across its UK facilities, Heineken hopes the changes will lead to 517 tonnes of plastic being removed from the packaging of its brands — which include Foster’s, Kronenbourg 1664, Strongbow, Bulmer’s, Red Stripe and John Smith’s — by the end of 2021. Head of marketing, Cindy Tervoort, said, “It’s what our customers want and expect, and we have been working on and testing this innovation for three years.” 

Around 100 million marine mammals are affected each year by plastic waste, with hundreds of thousands of animals killed after being trapped in plastic rings. Responding to Heineken’s news, a spokesperson for the Marine Conservation Society said: “This is an interesting development and will help cut down the amount of plastic on our beaches and in our seas. These kinds of can yokes are regularly found on our beach cleans.” 

Heineken isn’t the first brewer to develop an eco-conscience. Last year, Carlsberg unveiled green bottles made from sustainably sourced wood fibres. “We continue to innovate across all our packaging formats, and we are pleased with the progress we’ve made on the Green Fibre Bottle so far. While we are not completely there yet, the two prototypes are an important step towards realising our ultimate ambition of bringing this breakthrough to market,” said Carlberg’s Myriam Shingleton. “Innovation takes time and we will continue to collaborate with leading experts in order to overcome remaining technical challenges.” The move to green bottles is part of the Danish company’s sustainability program — Together Towards ZERO — an initiative that commits the brewer to meeting a target of zero carbon emissions at its breweries by 2030. 

ABOVE Carlsberg's new Green Fibre Bottle, made from sustainably-sourced wood fibres

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