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Diageo project creates ultra-low carbon footprint whisky bottles

Diageo is celebrating a successful pilot project to pioneer the lowest-carbon footprint glass bottles ever produced for a Scotch whisky brand.

Conducted in collaboration with glass manufacturer Encirc and industry research body Glass Futures, the project used waste-based biofuel-powered furnaces to reduce the carbon footprint of the bottle-making process by up to 90 per cent.

For the trial Diageo used its Black & White Scotch whisky brand, producing 173,000 bottles which also used 100 per cent recycled glass, further reducing their environmental impact.

Diageo says more work is needed to develop and scale the process for future production, but that it represents a significant step in its drive to become more sustainable.

Following the success of the trial, Diageo has also agreed a 10-year partnership with Glass Futures to accelerate innovation in the glass industry.

John Aird, senior packaging technologist at Diageo, who led the project for the company, said: "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.

"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."

Adrian Curry, managing director at Encirc, said: "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."

Aston Fuller, general manager of Glass Futures, added: "Glass is a fully recyclable and highly sustainable product, and through this trial with Encirc we are seeing the dawn of net zero technologies with this full-scale trial of a new alternative low-carbon fuel."

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 £7.1 million initiative to explore routes to switching glass manufacturing to low-carbon fuels.

Diageo’s support for Glass Futures is part of its commitment to transforming packaging sustainability. Diageo recently announced its Society 2030: Spirit of Progress sustainability plan, which includes ambitious environmental goals such as being net zero emissions from all direct operations by 2030.

8 April 2021 - Bethany Whymark