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Guinness Slashes Plastic Waste with Beer Packaging Overhaul

Guinness Slashes Plastic Waste with Beer Packaging Overhaul
(Photo: Guinness brand owner Diageo is switching from plastic to coardboard for beer multipacks. Credit: Diageo)

Guinness brand owner Diageo is replacing the plastic ring carriers and shrink-wrap on their multipack beer products with 100% recyclable and biodegradable cardboard. The new packaging should help the multinational alcoholic beverages company reduce plastic waste by 400 metric tons annually.

Diageo, which also owns Harp and Smithwick’s, announced that they are investing £16 million (around $20.78 million) to make the switch. The new beer packaging will hit the shelves in Ireland starting this August, and the company plans to make the switch in Great Britain and international markets in summer 2020.

“The multi-can packs will be replaced by cardboard packs, which are sustainably sourced, recyclable, and fully biodegradable,” according to Diageo. “Individual cans are fully recyclable, including the widget which is contained inside cans of Draught Guinness.”

In July 2018, Diageo phased single-use plastic bottles and other catering items out from their offices and manufacturing sites. They had previously committed to phasing out plastic straws and stirrers globally. Last year the company set plastic targets for 2025 to ensure that all of their plastics are designed to be widely recyclable, reusable, or compostable. The multinational aims to achieve 40% average recycled content in their plastic bottles by then, and reach 100% by 2030.

For 2020, the company set four sustainable packaging targets: reduce total packaging weight by 15%, increase recycled content to 45%, make 100% of their packaging recyclable or reusable, and sustainably source all of their paper and board packaging to ensure zero net deforestation.

Diageo’s brands are sold in more than 180 countries worldwide and include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Cîroc, Ketel One, Smirnoff, and Tanqueray.

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