Diageo to bring paper Johnnie Walker bottle to market

Multinational alcohol company Diageo has created a paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood.

The beverages giant, behind major brands such as Smirnoff and Guinness, announced on Monday that the plastic-free bottle will go to market with Johnnie Walker in early 2021.

Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer, Diageo PLC, said the company is 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,” Andrew said.

The innovation has sprung from a new partnership between Diageo and venture management company Pilot Lite.

The two have launched a sustainable packaging technology company, known as Pulpex Limited, which has developed a ‘first-of-its-kind’ scalable paper-based bottle, made from pulp, that is designed to be entirely free of plastic, fully recyclable and suitable for use across a range of consumer goods.

Pulpex is also bringing together a consortium of leading FMCG businesses from non-competing categories, including Unilever and PepsiCo, to help them introduce their own branded paper bottles to market.

Sandy Westwater, director, Pilot Lite said the project will use the collective power of major brands to help minimise the environmental footprint of packaging “by changing manufacturing and consumer behaviours”.

“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 said in a statement.

Richard Slater, chief R&D officer, Unilever, said the collaboration will help the company reach its sustainability targets.

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.”

PepsiCo’s chief sustainability officer Simon Lowden said these innovative solutions and partnerships are critical to driving progress toward a circular economy.

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,” he said.

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