Heineken is scrapping plastic packaging

Heineken is phasing out plastic rings on millions of multipack cans and replacing them with cardboard.

Heineken’s cardboard toppers will hit UK shop shelves in April next year. (photo: Heineken)

Heineken has invested £22 million at its UK sites to replace the plastic rings that hold together cans of Foster’s, Heineken and Kronenbourg 1664, from April 2020.

Instead of plastic rings, the beer sold in the UK will be held together with cardboard “toppers” strong enough to carry their weight. These toppers will then be introduced to Heineken’s wider portfolio, including Strongbow, Bulmer’s and John Smith’s by the end of 2021.

The brewery, which is also ditching plastic shrink wrap from its wholesale packaging, hopes to remove 517 million tonnes of plastic from the production line by the end of 2021.

Marketing director Cindy Tervoort said that eliminates plastic “while still meeting the demands of our beer and cider drinkers” has been a big focus in recent years.

“Now, after years in development and huge investment, we’re extremely pleased to announce our recyclable and compostable topper innovation, a significant milestone in our journey to eliminate all single-use plastic.”

Other brewers are also starting to phase out single-use plastics from their production lines and make their packaging easily recyclable.

Last month, Carlsberg revealed two prototypes for a ‘paper’ green fibre beer bottle. Both are made from sustainably sourced wood fibres and have an “inner barrier” allowing the bottle to hold beer.

The UK arm of AB InBev has also announced plans to scrap plastic rings from its range – which includes Stella Artois, Budweiser and Bud Light, by 2020, hopefully saving around 850 tonnes of plastic each year.

Around 100 million marine mammals are affected each year by plastic waste, according to a study by the University of Plymouth, while hundreds of thousands of animals die as a result of being caught in plastic rings.

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