Top bottlers look at light beer

Several of UK's biggest brewers are to switch to lighter glass bottles to meet consumer demand for more environmentally-friendly packaging.

Big name brands such as Miller Genuine Draft, Strongbow, Cobra and Marston’s can now be bought in lighter bottles.

SABMiller, Scottish & Newcastle, Marston’s, Wells & Young’s and Frederic Robinson’s have cut the weight of bottles for some of their products by 8% to 24% after working with government-funded WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and the Glass Technology Service (GTS) under their GlassRite programme.

To the untrained eye the bottles look identical to their heavyweight predecessors but will make significant savings in material use, reducing waste and the carbon emissions associated with production and transport.

Andy Dawe, WRAP’s head of retail programmes said: “GlassRite has led the way and shown what can be done to lightweight glass containers. It is very encouraging to see so many major lager, ale and cider brands redesigning their bottles in-line with changing consumer and industry expectations.”

The combined efforts of the five brewers has saved 3,800 tonnes of glass and 2,515 tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of taking more than 800 cars off the road.

WRAP has also been working to help create lightweight wine bottles which have been adopted by supermarkets Morrisons and Tesco, and wine brand owners Constellation Europe and PLB Wines.

Most recently Broadland Wineries the UK’s joint largest contract bottler has launched UK’s first light-weighted bottle for sparkling wine.

These developments are already delivering significant energy and carbon savings.

Sam Bond

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