Johnnie Walker to be sold in paper bottles
Johnnie Walker, the whisky which traces its roots back more than 150 years, will soon be sold in paper bottles.
Diageo, the drinks giant that owns the brand, said it plans to run a trial of the new packaging from next year.
It said the bottles will be free of plastic as part of efforts to make drinks packaging more sustainable.
It is co-launching a firm called Pulpex, which will also make paper bottles for the likes of Unilever and PepsiCo.
Diageo’s paper whisky bottle, which will be trialled in spring 2021, will be made from wood pulp and will be fully recyclable, the company said.
The idea is that customers would be able to drop them straight into the recycling.
Drinks companies have been developing paper bottles to try to cut down on plastic pollution.
UK firm Frugalpac produces paper wine bottles which it says are made from recycled paper with a “food grade liner”.
However, drinks giant Coca-Cola in January said it would not ditch single-use plastic bottles because consumers still want them.
Diageo said its bottles will be made by pressurising pulp in moulds which will then be cured in microwave ovens.
The bottles will be sprayed internally with coatings that are designed not to interact with the drinks they will contain.
Many cartons made out of paper have a plastic coating inside to stop the drinks leaking out. Diageo, however, said its drinks bottles will not have that plastic coating.
Diageo will launch Pulpex with venture management firm Pilot Lite, and will work in a consortium with other major food and drinks businesses like Unilever and PepsiCo to develop the paper bottles.
Unilever and PepsiCo are expected to use their own branded Pulpex bottles for their products in 2021.
Companies are coming under increasing pressure to reduce the amount of plastic in packaging as consumers increasingly focus on damage to ecosystems.
In Europe, 8.2 million tonnes of plastic were used to package food and drink in 2018, according to ING analysts.
Diageo, which also makes Guinness and Smirnoff vodka, said it uses less than 5% of plastic in its total packaging.
Along with Unilever and PepsiCo, it has set targets to reduce and recycle plastic as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals program by 2025.