Carlsberg to trial 8,000 bio-based beer bottles across Europe

Danish brewer Carlsberg has unveiled plans to trial the performance of 8,000 fibre-based beer bottles, in a move that could help the company reduce the carbon emissions and improve recyclability.

Carlsberg to trial 8,000 bio-based beer bottles across Europe

The bottles will be rolled out across Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, United Kingdom, Poland, Germany and France.

Carlsberg has been researching and developing the feasibility of bio-based bottles since 2015 and has today (22 June) confirmed plans to trial 8,000 of its new “Fibre Bottles” across Europe.

The bio-based bottles are fully recyclable and will be placed into the hands of consumers for the first time.

The outer bottle consists of sustainably sourced wood fibre, produced by Paboco, which is working with a variety of companies to develop paper and bio-based bottles.

Each bottle consists of a plant-based polymer lining, developed by Carlsberg’s partner Avantium, that is made from natural raw materials that are compatible with plastic recycling systems. Carlsberg also claims that the bottles can “degrade” naturally, should they fail to be placed into recycling systems.

Carlsberg has analysed the prototype bottles through lifecycle assessment applications. Under its current projections, the company believes that the fibre bottle can achieve a carbon footprint that is 80% lower than current single-use glass bottles.

Carlsberg is aiming for the Fibre Bottle to achieve the same low carbon footprint as the refillable glass bottle, which is currently the best-performing primary packaging when collected and reused.

The bottles will be rolled out across Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, United Kingdom, Poland, Germany and France.

Carlsberg’s group sustainability director Simon Boas Hoffmeyer said: “The progress made with our new Fibre Bottle is testament to Carlsberg’s pioneering spirit, with a focus on making better products in every sense of the word.

“We’ve been working hard on this project since 2015, and aim to continue to set the industry standard by further improving the bottle’s environmental footprint and product performance. Collaboration is key and, together with our partners, we’re excited to see how research and development into sustainable packaging solutions is now becoming the norm.”

Carlsberg has also revealed that the beer inside the bottle will be more sustainable. In collaboration with barley malt supplier Soufflet, Carlsberg has used barley that has been cultivated using organic and regenerative agricultural practices. Cover crops were introduced in the barley fields to assist with regenerative farming processes.

While progress has been made on the bottle, Carlsberg has confirmed that the bottle cap is not bio-based. This is because of the quality of the material needed for the cap. Carlsberg has moved to ensure that the cap and bottle are fully recyclable.

Going forward, Paboco and Carlsberg are exploring alternative fibre-based bottle caps, with a shareable solution expected in 2023. The Absolut Company, which is also working with Paboco, has confirmed plans to develop and trial a bio-based, fully recyclable bottle cap made from sustainable sources.

Carlsberg will now gain customer and consumer feedback on the bottles, which will be rolled out at select festivals and flagship events, as well as targeted product samplings. The feedback will be used to inform the next version of the design.

Paper bottle community

The progress of the bio-based bottle has been three years in the making. In 2019, Danish brewer Carlsberg unveiled prototypes of the world’s first beer bottles made from recyclable and bio-based materials.

The move kick-started the formation of Paboco, the Paper Bottle Company, which is a joint venture between renewables material company BillerudKorsnäs and plastic bottle manufacturing specialist Alpla.

On the day of its formation, Paboco launched a paper bottle community. The Absolut Company is one of the founding pioneers of this community and has been joined by The Coca-Cola Company, Carlsberg and L’Oréal.

Asbolut has since announced plans to trial of 2,000 paper-based bottle prototypes across Sweden and the UK, to test the viability of paper as an alternative to single-use plastics in beverage applications. The first prototypes were made up of 100% recycled content, with 57% paper and 43% recycled plastic, with the latter used to create a barrier layer for the bottle.

Elsewhere, The Coca-Cola Company – one of the biggest plastic producers in the food and beverage space – confirmed plans to trial 2,000 paper-based bottles in 2021, to test the material’s viability as an alternative to single-use plastics.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie