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Diageo collaborates on sustainable glass bottle trial

Published:  08 April, 2021

Diageo has collaborated in a pilot project to pioneer the lowest carbon footprint glass bottles ever produced for a Scotch whisky brand.

The collaboration with glass manufacturer Encirc and leading industry research and technology body Glass Futures, used waste-based biofuel-powered furnaces to reduce the carbon footprint of the bottle-making process by up to 90%.

The trial, for which Diageo used its Black & White Scotch whisky brand, produced 173,000 bottles, also using 100% recycled glass, making the batch the most environmentally-friendly ever produced for a Scotch whisky brand, the drinks giant said.

Further work was now needed to develop and scale the trial for future production, Diageo added, but said it represented a “significant step forward” in Diageo’s drive to transform the sustainability of its grain-to-glass supply chain.

“We are committed to creating a sustainable future for our business and that includes looking for innovative new ways to make our bottles and packaging that reduces the carbon footprint of our products,” said John Aird, senior packaging technologist at Diageo, who led the project for the company. 

“This trial is just a first step in the journey to decarbonise this aspect of our supply chain and we still have a long way to go, but we are delighted with the results of the collaboration and the platform it creates for future innovation.

“We see Glass Futures as a great opportunity to develop new technology and to help deliver net zero glass manufacturing and we are delighted to support them in that mission,” said Aird.

Adrian Curry, MD at Encirc, added: “This is a truly momentous occasion for glass. We have set the standard globally with this trial and now the glass industry needs to work towards realising what we’ve proved is possible. We now know that glass can be the most sustainable of all packaging types and must all work together to ensure that happens.”

Diageo has supported Glass Futures from concept and following the success of the trial has agreed a 10-year partnership to accelerate collaboration and innovation in the glass industry.

The project is part of the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Energy Innovation Programme, within which Glass Futures is leading a £7.1m initiative to explore the most effective routes to switching glass manufacturing to low carbon fuels.

In November, Diageo launched a new 10-year sustainability action plan featuring a range of goals involving environment issues, diversity and inclusion, and moderate drinking initiatives.