Diageo readies paper bottle tech

Paper-based bottle will allow brands to rethink packaging designs
Paper-based bottle will allow brands to rethink packaging designs

Drinks giant Diageo has taken a stake in a sustainable packaging company and plans to bring a paper-based spirits bottle to market early next year for one of its flagship brands.

The British multinational has taken a stake in Pulpex alongside venture management firm Pilot Lite.

Pulpex was originally incorporated just over a year ago as New Gen Sustainability Company. The firm was renamed Pulpex at the end of last month.

Diageo plans to launch the Pulpex bottle, described as “the world’s first 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle” on its flagship Johnnie Walker whisky brand in early 2021.

The single-mould bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to food safe standards, and is expected to be “fully recyclable in standard waste streams”. Diageo said it was 100% plastic-free.

“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,” Diageo stated.

A consortium of partner companies from non-competing FMCG companies, including PepsiCo and Unilever, has been set up with the aim of broadening the use of the new bottle technology for a variety of liquids, with other products slated to come to market next year.

Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer at Diageo, commented: “We’re proud to have created this world first. 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.”

Diageo said the move would form part of its commitment towards Goal 12 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’.

Pilot Lite has operations around the world, and works with large companies to take R&D projects from concept into the full implementation of a product or service.

Pilot Lite Capital has a 50.4% shareholding in the Pulpex joint venture, with Diageo holding the remainder.

Diageo had net sales of nearly £12.9bn last year. Its products are sold in more than 180 countries worldwide. Its brands include Guinness, Smirnoff, Baileys and Captain Morgan Rum.