Are paper bottles a solution to reduce plastic waste?

Carlsberg's green fiber bottle prototypes
Carlsberg
Carlsberg's green fiber bottle prototypes.

Carlsberg has unveiled its latest designs for what it is hailing as the world's first "paper" beer bottles, as the brewing giant continues its bid to drive down the amount of plastic used in its packaging.

The two research prototypes for its Green Fiber Bottle are made from sustainably sourced wood fiber and have an inner barrier to allow them to contain beer, the firm announced Oct. 11.

One prototype uses a thin recycled PET plastic polymer film, and the other a 100 percent bio-based PEF plastic polymer film, both of which Carlsberg said it would use to test the barrier technology.

The company's ambition is eventually to create a 100 percent bio-based bottle without polymers, an aim which forms part of Carlsberg's wider sustainability goals to achieve zero carbon emissions at its breweries and a 30 percent cut in its full value chain CO2 footprint by 2030 against a 2015 baseline.

Myriam Shingleton, vice president group for development at Carlsberg Group, said she was pleased with the progress made so far on the "paper" beer bottle designs.

"While we are not completely there yet, the two prototypes are an important step towards realizing our ultimate ambition of bringing this breakthrough to market," she said. "Innovation takes time and we will continue to collaborate with leading experts in order to overcome remaining technical challenges, just as we did with our plastic-reducing Snap Pack [plastic-free beer can packaging]."

Carlsberg has been working on the paper bottle designs since 2015 alongside tech firm ecoXpac, packaging company BillerudKorsnäs and researchers from Danish Technical University.

Together they established a paper bottle company called Paboco, and Carlsberg revealed it has joined a new "paper bottle community" alongside Coca-Cola Company, the spirits firm the Absolut Company and French brand L'Oreal, aimed at further developing green packaging.

"The work with our partners since 2015 on the Green Fiber Bottle illustrates that this kind of innovation can happen when we work together," added Shingleton. "We're delighted that other like-minded companies have now joined us as part of Paboco's paper bottle community. Partnerships such as these, ones that are united by a desire to create sustainable innovations, are the best way to bring about real change."

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