Johnnie Walker whisky will be sold in paper bottles from next year

Energy

Diageo is to roll out “100% plastic free” bottles of Johnnie Walker from next year, the latest example of a major drinks manufacturer attempting to move toward more sustainable forms of packaging.

In a statement Monday, the British firm said the bottle would be paper-based and “made entirely from sustainably sourced wood.”

The bottle’s development is the product of a collaboration between the drinks giant and venture management firm Pilot Lite, which in turn led to the development of a business called Pulpex Limited.

Diageo described Pulpex Limited as a “sustainable packaging technology company” and said its paper bottle was both scalable and plastic free.

“The bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards and will be fully recyclable in standard waste streams,” the firm, whose other brands include Guinness and Baileys Irish Cream, said.

In addition to bottles for Diageo, Pulpex has set up a “partner consortium” of fast-moving consumer goods, or FMCG, businesses. This includes PepsiCo and Unilever, who are also set to release their own products using the paper bottle technology next year.

In the U.K., awareness of plastic pollution has been raised in recent years by shows such as “Blue Planet II.” Presented by naturalist David Attenborough, the TV show highlighted the shocking impact plastic has on wildlife.

According to statistics from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the U.K. generated 2.26 million metric tons of packaging waste from plastic in 2017, with 46.2% of this either recovered or recycled. 

Diageo is one of several major firms looking to introduce new types of packaging. Last October, Carlsberg released details of two “paper bottle” research prototypes it was working on. In November, Heineken U.K. said it would be getting rid of plastic from its multi-packs by 2021.

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