Guinness to spend 16 mn pounds on plastic-free packaging for beer in welcome move

With the new move, Guinness will eliminate the equivalent of 40 million plastic bottles from the Earth.

For every single use plastic item you use, it takes a thousand years for it to decompose.

Plastic was invented in 1907, and every plastic item we as a society have used is still out there somewhere on the Earth.

On 15 April, in an unprecedented move, Diageo, the manufacturer of Guinness beer, announced that they will be reducing the plastic in their packaging. They want their packaging to be 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable. Their beer cans and widgets, though, are already recyclable.

"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 brand, for our wider beer portfolio and for the environment,” Mark Sandy, Global Head of Beer, Baileys and Smirnoff, said in a statement.

Guinness beer cans. Image: Paul David/Flickr

Guinness beer cans. Image: Paul David/Flickr

The company will now be spending 16 million pounds to convert themselves into a plastic-free beer-manufacturing entity. Multi-can packs will be replaced by cardboard packs, which are sustainably-sourced, recyclable and fully-biodegradable. By ditching plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap, they’ll be removing the equivalent of 40 million plastic bottles from the Earth.

Diageo has also set out a target for themselves for year 2025 with four goals. A 100 percent shift from their plastic use to recyclable, reusable and compostable material; investing in opportunities that promote a circular economy and sustainable packaging breakthroughs in research; to use 40 percent recycled content on average in what are currently plastic bottles — and 100 percent by 2030.

But here's the real kicker. Diageo has also announced that they will increase their collaborations with governments, their own rivals and their consumers to gather more support for recycling. They haven't released any numbers or specifics for this particular goal yet, but its certainly a bold and welcome move by the company towards sustainable manufacturing practices. The new beer packs will be available for sale on shelves in Ireland as early as August 2019, and starting mid-2020 in international markets.

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