Johnnie Walker’s parent firm Diageo doubles down on sustainability with paper-based bottle

Johnnie Walker’s parent firm Diageo doubles down on sustainability with paper-based bottle

July 15, 2020
Press Release: Diageo

Exciting news from Diageo, makers of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, comes in the form of an announcement that it has created the world’s first ever 100% plastic -paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood

The bottle will debut with Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky in early 2021.

At the same time, Diageo also revealed that it has launched a new partnership with Pilot Lite, a venture management company, to launch Pulpex Limited – a new 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’s design and technology, in 2021.

Pulpex 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, while 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 groundbreaking. 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-mold 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’.

“We believe in tackling plastic waste through innovation and collaboration,” added Richard Slater, chief R&D officer, Unilever. “We are going to halve our use of virgin plastic at Unilever, reducing our use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tons 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.”

“Innovative solutions and partnerships are critical to driving meaningful progress toward a circular economy,” said Simon Lowden, chief sustainability officer, PepsiCo. “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.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with global brand leaders in this consortium,” said Sandy Westwater, director, Pilot Lite. “By working together, we can use the collective power of the brands to help minimize the environmental footprint of packaging by changing manufacturing and consumer behaviors.”

The rescheduled Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2020 will take place at Cologne Messe, Germany, on Monday 9 November and Tuesday 10 November. To register for this highly focused, solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email [email protected]


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