Drinks giant Diageo to remove plastic packaging from Guinness and other brands

Beverage company plans to cut plastic usage by more than 400 tonnes per year

Zamira Rahim
Monday 15 April 2019 06:56
Diageo's new plastic free packaging as seen on Guinness cans
Diageo's new plastic free packaging as seen on Guinness cans

Diageo, the owner of Guinness, has said it will remove plastic packaging from all its beer products.

Cardboard material will replace plastic shrink wrapping and ring carriers on the company’s beer multipacks from this summer.

The firm said its new packaging will be 100 per cent recyclable and biodegradable, and it will invest €18.5m (£16m) to reduce the amount of plastic used.

Diageo’s bottling and packaging plant in Northern Ireland will be the first site to produce the new packs, which are expected to be seen on products sold in Ireland from August.

The beverage company, one of the world’s largest spirit producers, plans to introduce the packaging in the UK and other international markets in 2020.

A Diageo spokesperson said under 5 per cent of total packaging used was currently plastic.

The drinks maker expects the change in packaging to reduce its plastic usage by over 400 tonnes annually.

As well as Guinness, Diageo produces Harp, Rockshore and Smithwick’s beer.

“Managing our environmental impact is important for the planet and the financial sustainability of our business,” said Oliver Loomes, country director of Diageo Ireland.

“For 260 years Guinness has played a vital role in the communities around us.

“We already have one of the most sustainable breweries in the world at St James’s Gate and we are now leading the way in sustainable packaging.

“This is good news for the environment and for our brand.”

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An increasing number of brands are removing plastic packaging from their products.

In March 2019 Tesco launched a trial to remove packaging from 45 food products, after Marks & Spencer and Iceland launched similar trials earlier in the year.

Lush, the popular cosmetics company, opened a UK store entirely void of plastic packaging in January 2019.

Additional reporting by agencies

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