‘Revolutionary’ Heineken bottle could lead to ‘radical’ change in glass manufacturing

Image: Heineken

HEINEKEN is to trial a ‘revolutionary’ glass bottle in the UK which it said could lead to a ‘radical’ reduction in the use of carbon in glass manufacturing. 

Some 1.4 million bottles made from 100% recycled glass and carbon biofuel are to hit supermarket shelves as part of the pilot.

The development comes as part of a collaboration between the Dutch firm, global glass manufacturer and filler, Encirc, and not-for-profit industry research and development organisation, Glass Futures.

The UK Government’s department for business, energy and industrial strategy is backing the work with £7.1 million in funding. Heineken said that the relative resilience of the bottles as they go through the supply chain will be assessed – with the findings contributing to wider work on sourcing a scalable solution for the long-term, as the glass sector moves away from fossil fuels and towards low-carbon alternatives.

Made from waste organic materials, Heineken said that biofuels are a renewable and much more sustainable fuel source than those traditionally used by the glass sector – adding that they can reduce the production carbon footprint of each bottle by up to 90%. Additionally, by using up to 100% recycled glass to produce the new bottles, the lager-maker said that the method has been able to minimise even further the environmental impact of these products.

Matt Callan, brewing and operations director at Heineken UK, said, “The trial is a huge step forward in finding a scalable solution to reducing carbon from glass manufacturing. This is a great example of working together with different suppliers to advance sustainable practices. Testing 1.4m bottles in the market will provide much needed insight into the practicalities of introducing an ultra-low carbon option with glass, and the results will inform further development with the eventual goal of introducing low carbon bottles at scale.

“As part of our Brewing a Better World sustainability strategy, we have a continued focus on reducing CO2 from our entire supply chain.  Collaboration is key – innovation, testing and trial will be at the heart of our continuous efforts to ‘Drop the C’. We welcome this industry wide initiative that connects drink producers, glass suppliers, policy makers and research institutes to advance the decarbonisation of their sectors. And with consumers recycling wherever possible, together we can reduce the impact on our planet.”

Energy minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, added, Most of us are passionate about the environmental impact food and drink packaging is having on our planet and are making greener choices as a result. I congratulate Heineken, Encirc and Glass Futures on having the bottle to lead the way in decarbonising glass manufacturing in the food and drink sector.  

“With £7.1 million government funding, this project is a huge leap forward in creating greener packaging and helping the UK end its contribution to carbon emissions by 2050 – something which we can all raise a glass to.”  

Rob Turvey, sales and marketing director at Encirc, said, “This is a massively exciting innovation opportunity for us at Encirc, Heineken and, of course, their consumers. By choosing glass, Heineken benefits from packaging which is better for the environment, better for taste and better for the end-user. This ground-breaking biofuel trial has shown the world the fundamental role this material can play in supporting food and beverage organisations in their ambitions to de-carbonise supply chains. It further demonstrates why we believe glass will soon be the most environmentally beneficial packaging format for all forward-thinking beverage companies.”

Richard Katz, chief executive of Glass Futures, added, “We are delighted to be collaborating with Heineken and Encirc on this very important project utilising Glass Futures technology which is already well on the way to setting new standards in low carbon glass products and processes. This pilot is helping the sector move towards a sustainable zero carbon future and demonstrates very clearly what can be achieved when the industry, partners and funders all work together.”