Guinness removes plastic packaging from its Beer packs

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Plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap will be removed from multipacks of our beer brands including Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s

The beverage giant is investing £16million to reduce the number of plastics used in its beer packaging, which will see:

  • The introduction of 100% recyclable and biodegradable cardboard to replace plastic
  • A reduction of plastic waste that is the equivalent of removing 40 million 50cl plastic bottles from the world* which, if laid out in a row, would reach from London to Beijing (8,136km)

Multi-can packs will be replaced by cardboard packs, which are sustainably sourced, recyclable and fully biodegradable.

Guinness removes plastic packaging from its Beer packs - Brand Spur

The new sustainable beer packs will be on shelves on the island of Ireland from August 2019 and from Summer 2020 in Great Britain and other international markets. Individual cans are fully recyclable, including the widget which is contained inside cans of Draught Guinness.

Global Head of Beer, Baileys and Smirnoff, Mark Sandys said, “For 260 years Guinness has played a vital role in the communities around us. We already have one of the most sustainable breweries in the world at St. James’s Gate and we are now leading the way in sustainable packaging. This is good news for the brand, for our wider beer portfolio and for the environment.”

Chief Sustainability Officer and President, Global Supply & Procurement, David Cutter explained further, “Great packaging is essential for our products. Consumers expect our packs to look beautiful, be functional, and sustainable. I am proud to announce this investment, through which we have been able to combine all three. We have been working tirelessly to make our packaging more environmentally friendly and I’m thrilled with this outcome for Guinness and our other global beer brands.”

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Currently, under 5% of Guinness’ total packaging around the world is plastic and in 2018, it announced new plastics targets from 2025 and beyond.

Guinness is continuously looking for ways to work with its suppliers, customers and consumers to make packaging more sustainable and targets ensure that 100% of plastics used are designed to be widely recyclable, or reusable/compostable.

The beverage giant listed its global plastics targets for 2025 as follows:

  • Ensure 100% of our plastic use is designed to be widely recyclable (or reusable/compostable), using plastics that allow for increased consumer recycling rates
  • Achieve 40% average recycled content in our plastic bottles – and 100% by 2030 
  • Continue to invest in circular economy opportunities and other sustainable packaging breakthroughs
  • Accelerate our support for recycling by increasing collaboration, particularly where we have influence, and engaging with Governments, peers and consumers to facilitate improved recycling.