How Wood You Like Your Johnnie Walker Scotch Bottled? Paper or Plastic? Diageo Creates Paper Bottle

 In Blog

Lots of companies talk about saving the planet but Diageo is actually doing something about it. One of Diageo’s stated goals is to “Reduce our environmental impact…on the planet and the communities in which we work”. The company is committed to minimizing their environmental impact across operations and to extend environmental standards throughout their supply chain.

In June they announced they were moving their Seagrams 7 from a virgin plastic bottle to 100% recycled  plastic (rPET) bottles. A few weeks later they announced their new 10 million proof gallon Diageo Lebanon Kentucky Distillery under construction in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky would be 100% carbon neutral. And now they are introducing the world’s first paper-based whiskey bottle.

World’s First Ever 100% Plastic Free Paper-Based Spirits Bottle

Diageo says it has created the world’s first ever 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood. The bottle will debut with Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky in early 2021.

It has been created through a new partnership with Pilot Lite, a venture management company, to launch Pulpex Limited, a new world-leading sustainable packaging technology company. To ensure that the technology can be used in every area of life, Pulpex Limited has established a partner consortium of world leading FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) companies in non-competing categories including Unilever, and PepsiCo, with further partners expected to be announced later in the year. The consortium partners are each expecting to launch their own branded paper bottles, based on Pulpex Limited’s design and technology, in 2021.

Diageo - Ewan Andrew President, Global Supply and Procurement & Chief Sustainability Officer

Ewan Andrew President, Global Supply and Procurement & Chief Sustainability Officer.

“We’re proud to have created this world first,” said Diageo’s Chief Sustainability Officer Ewan Andrew. “We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging and this bottle has the potential to be truly ground-breaking. It feels fitting that we should launch it with Johnnie Walker, a brand that has often led the way in innovation throughout its 200 years existence.”

Pulpex Limited has developed a ‘first-of-its-kind’ scalable paper-based bottle designed and developed to be 100% plastic free and expected to be fully recyclable. The bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards and will be fully recyclable in standard waste streams.  The technology will allow brands to rethink their packaging designs, or move existing designs into paper, whilst not compromising on the existing quality of the product.

Pulpex Limited’s technology allows it to produce a variety of plastic-free, single mould bottles that can be used across a range of consumer goods. The packaging has been designed to contain a variety of liquid products and will form part of Diageo’s commitment towards Goal 12 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’.

Sandy Westwater, Director, Pilot Lite said, “We’re thrilled to be working with global brand leaders in this consortium. By working together, we can use the collective power of the brands to help minimize the environmental footprint of packaging by changing manufacturing and consumer behaviors.”

Related Stories 
Diageo’s New 10M Proof Gallon Kentucky Distillery to Be Largest Carbon Neutral Distillery in N.A. [Infographic] 
Diageo’s Seagram’s 7 Crown Says Goodbye to Virgin Plastic and Hello to rPET Bottles

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Paper Based Bottle Consortium Includes Unilever and PepsiCo

Johnnie Walker Black Label - Pulpex Sample Paper Bottle

Pulpex Sample Paper Bottle.

“We believe in tackling plastic waste through innovation and collaboration,” said Richard Slater, Chief R&D Officer, Unilever. “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.”

“Innovative solutions and partnerships are critical to driving meaningful progress toward a circular economy,” commented Simon Lowden, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo. “The Pulpex consortium is well positioned to deliver sustainable packaging at scale and across industries, having impact beyond what any organization could achieve alone. We’re proud to be a part of it.”

Diageo’s Johnnie Walker Scotch Whiskey bottled in a 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle is expected to debut in early 2021.

Diageo’s Commitment to Sustainability in Packaging

Focus Area Our Targets What We're Doing Performance in 2019
Packaging •Reduce total packaging weight by 15%. •Reducing packaging weight. •We achieved a 10.8% reduction in packaging weight since the 2009 baseline.
•Increase recycled content to 45%. •We have increased recycled content in our packaging by 40.5% since 2009.
•Make 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable. •We have improved the recyclability of our packaging by 98.7% since 2009.
•Sustainably source all our paper and board packaging to ensure zero net deforestation. •Overall 94% of our paper and board packaging is sustainably sourced.
Packaging (plastic) •These are 2025 targets and they were introduced in 2018. •Working with suppliers and other partners to remove non-recyclable plastics from our products and to promote better recycling infrastructure in selected markets. •Achieved 0.02% average recycled content in all plastic bottles against our 2018 baseline.
•Achieve 40% average recycled content in all plastic bottles (and 100% by 2030). •81% of our plastics are designed to be recyclable, reusable or compostable against our 2018 baseline.
•Ensure 10% of our plastics will be designed to be recyclable, reusable or compostable in countries where we operate.

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