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New paper-based liquor bottle marks milestone for sustainable packaging

New paper-based liquor bottle marks milestone for sustainable packaging
New paper-based liquor bottle marks milestone for sustainable packaging

A new paper-based bottle trialed by Diageo, the famous whisky and beer maker, could set new standards for sustainable packaging in the industry. 

Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky and Guinness, has announced its new packaging plans for Baileys, the Original Irish Cream Liqueur.

Here’s what to expect: It’s made of dry molded fiber with 90% paper. However, it has a plastic liner and a foil seal. 

Sustainable packaging standards

The bottle is not intended to end up in landfills but is designed to be recycled. Although it’s made from two recyclable items, foil, and paper, it does not require the consumer to separate the plastic liner when disposing of it. 

“This is Diageo’s first consumer-facing trial with paper-based bottles and will test how the bottles travel from the filling site in Ireland to Barcelona. [It will also monitor] how consumers interact with the material and how they understand the sustainability credentials of the paper bottle,” says the company. 

‘Progress over perfection’

Diageo’s chief sustainability officer, Ewan Andrew, says it’s not about starting it right. They want to ensure progress and set new standards for sustainable packaging

“When it comes to our packaging, we’re taking an approach of progress over perfection, knowing our packaging will need to evolve along with consumer needs and technological advancements,” says Andrew.

He acknowledges that the consumer is becoming more “sustainability savvy.” That’s why Diageo wants to mix premium products with sustainable solutions.

The ‘say-do gap’

Premium brand customers (68%) want to “buy more sustainably,” but only a tiny portion (12%) do so. Diageo’s study links this to “barriers including expense, lack of availability and confusion about what is on offer.”

This is called the ‘say-do’ gap, which speaks to the desire to be kinder to nature, but with a busy and rushed lifestyle, it’s not possible to keep up with the initiative. 

More sustainable packaging to follow

Diageo has more sustainability packaging planned, which includes paper formats. On the cards is a “Johnnie Walker paper-based bottle,” still in development. 

Another design in the making is a spiral-wound paper-based bottle with Don Papa, the super-premium Filipino rum brand. “The bottle is in feasibility testing and is expected to be 90% paper-based,” says the company. 

The bottle is designed to remove the cardboard gift box around it. This is to give the illusion of a gift box, which is, in fact, the whole bottle. In 2022, Diageo began removing the cardboard gift boxes in its premium scotch portfolio. This was to reduce excess packaging, and this is being rolled out in a phased approach over the coming years.

Photo supplied

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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