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Diageo announces world’s first 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle

The paper-based bottle will debut with Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker in early 2021. Photo: Diageo

Alcohol company Diageo (DGE.L) has announced it has created the world’s first 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle.

The bottle is made entirely from sustainably sourced wood and is expected to be fully recyclable, according to the company.

Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, has partnered with venture management company Pilot Lite to launch Pulpex Limited, a new sustainable packaging technology company.

Pulpex Limited has developed the paper-based bottle which will debut with Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker in early 2021.

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The bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards and will be fully recyclable in standard waste streams, according to the company.

Pulpex Limited has formed a partner consortium of companies including Unilever (ULVR.L), and PepsiCo (PEP), with further partners expected to be announced later in the year. The consortium hopes to “use the collective power of the brands to help minimise the environmental footprint of packaging by changing manufacturing and consumer behaviours,” said Sandy Westwater, director of Pilot Lite.

The consortium partners are planning to launch their own branded paper bottles, based on Pulpex Limited’s design and technology, in 2021.

Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer at Diageo, said the new plastic free bottles will “form part of Diageo’s commitment towards Goal 12 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’.”

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