Diageo to launch Johnnie Walker in paper bottle in early 2021

Diageo and Pilot Lite partners to launch Pulpex

Diageo announces creation of 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle. Photo - Diageo

British multinational beverage alcohol company, Diageo, makers of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, and Guinness, has announced that it has created 100% plastic-free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood. The bottle will debut with Johnnie Walker, the world’s number one Scotch Whisky, in early 2021. London headquartered Diageo operates in more than 180 countries, including India.

Diageo & Pilot Lite launch ‘Pulpex’

It comes as Diageo announces that it has launched a new partnership with Pilot Lite, a venture management company, to launch Pulpex, a new world-leading sustainable packaging technology company. Pilot Lite is a company that invests in ethical and sustainable ventures. Pulpex is a packaging technology company with a single-minded mission to deliver sustainability through renewable packaging.

To ensure that the technology can be used in every area of life, Pulpex has established a partner consortium of world-leading FMCG companies in non-competing categories, including Unilever and PepsiCo further partners expected to be announced later in the year. The consortium partners are each expecting to launch their own branded paper bottles, based on Pulpex’s design and technology, in 2021.

100% plastic-free, paper-based bottles

Pulpex has developed a ‘first-of-its-kind’ scalable paper-based bottle designed and developed to be 100% plastic-free and expected to be fully recyclable. The bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards and will be fully recyclable in standard waste streams. The technology will allow brands to rethink their packaging designs, or move existing designs into paper, while not compromising on the existing quality of the product.

Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer, Diageo, said, “We’re proud to have created this world first. We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging and this bottle has the potential to be truly ground-breaking. It feels fitting that we should launch it with Johnnie Walker, a brand that has often led the way in innovation throughout its 200 years existence.”

Pulpex’s technology allows it to produce a variety of plastic-free, single mold bottles that can be used across a range of consumer goods. The packaging has been designed to contain a variety of liquid products and will form part of Diageo’s commitment towards Goal 12 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’.

Richard Slater, chief R&D officer, Unilever, said, “We believe in tackling plastic waste through innovation and collaboration. We will halve our use of virgin plastic at Unilever, reducing our use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tons in the next five years. Joining forces to develop and test paper bottles is an incredibly exciting step forward, and we’re delighted to be working together to tackle one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time.”

Simon Lowden, chief sustainability officer, PepsiCo, said, “Innovative solutions and partnerships are critical to driving meaningful progress toward a circular economy. The Pulpex consortium is well positioned to deliver sustainable packaging at scale and across industries, having an impact beyond what any organization could achieve alone. We’re proud to be a part of it.”

Sandy Westwater, director, Pilot Lite said, “We’re thrilled to be working with global brand leaders in this consortium. By working together, we can use the collective power of the brands to help minimize the environmental footprint of packaging by changing manufacturing and consumer behaviors.”

Carbonated and hot-fill products

Pulpex says that as soon as the technology allows, it will be looking to introduce paper-based bottles capable of taking carbonated products. In addition, it is already working on containers capable to taking hot-fill products. Updates on these this feature as part of the wider portfolio should be available in coming months.

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Technical Editor - Mandeep Kaur is working with IPP Group and holding editorial responsibilities for the IndiFoodBev and PSA Healthcare platforms. Earlier she handled editorial responsibilities of food, beverage, and agriculture publications at another publisher. A gold-medalist in M Tech (Food Technology), she has hands-on experience in operating different types of instruments related to physico-chemical testing of grains and flour. She has worked at Evalueserve in the Intellectual Property (IP) division for more than three years handling projects in the life sciences domain.


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