Absolut replaces plastics from bottle necks as part of paper-based bottle development

The Absolut Company has unveiled the latest milestone in its mission to create a fully paper-based drinks bottle, having replaced the plastic used to shape bottle necks, with a bio-based barrier.

The company is now seeing if bio-based materials can work as the barrier inside the bottle. Image: Absolut

The company is now seeing if bio-based materials can work as the barrier inside the bottle. Image: Absolut

Last year, the Absolut Company announced a 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.

However, Absolut has confirmed this week that it has replaced the plastic used for the neck of the bottle with a thin, bio-based barrier.

Absolut confirmed that it is testing different bio-based coatings in order to move more of the bottle away from plastics, although bio-plastics are also being tested in an attempt to use as little barrier material as possible. The company is now seeing if bio-based materials can work as the barrier inside the bottle.

Absolut’s Future of Packaging Director Louise Werner, said: "We recently reached a very important milestone. We have managed to integrate the barrier – the coating that separates the fluid from the paper – into the paper itself. With an integrated barrier we can use much less barrier material and start testing different bio-based solutions."

Paboco

The prototypes have been formed as part of an innovative group of businesses working towards eliminating the use of plastics for certain containers.

In 2019, Danish brewer Carlsberg unveiled prototypes of the world's first beer bottles made from recyclable and bio-based materials. Carlsberg will test the barrier technology with the ambition of being able to commercialise a 100% bio-based bottle that doesn’t contain polymers.

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.

In a similar move, drinks giant Diageo unveiled a plastic-free, paper-based spirits bottle earlier this year, which will debut on the company's Johnnie Walker range of Scotch Whisky early next year.

Diageo, which makes renowned drinks such as Smirnoff and Guinness, claims the bottle is the world’s first-ever 100% plastic-free, paper-based variant. The bottle is made from sustainably sourced wood fibre and meets food-safe standards.

As part of the new bottle unveiling, Diageo has launched a new partnership with venture management firm Pilot Lite to launch Pulpex Limited, the company behind the sustainable packaging technology.

Pulpex will produce a variety of plastic-free, single mould bottles that will be used across a new consortium of major FMCG companies, which includes PepsiCo and Unilever.

Matt Mace



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