Heineken® is taking part in ground-breaking research producing glass bottles using up to 100% recycled glass and low carbon biofuel, replacing high carbon natural gas. The trial, which is in its early stages, will see 1.4 million bottles of Heineken produced with the intent of hitting supermarket shelves in the UK with this revolutionary glass. If successful, the trial could set the path for a radical reduction in the use of carbon in glass manufacturing.
Heineken is working in partnership with global glass manufacturer and filler, Encirc (a Vidrala company), and not-for-profit industry research and development organisation, Glass Futures, to trial bottles made from up to 100% recycled glass, using only the energy from burning ultra-low-carbon sustainable biofuels. The pilot scheme, funded by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will assess the relative resilience of the new bottles throughout the entire supply chain.
The low carbon bottle trial is part of a global partnership working on sustainable glass solutions to advance the reduction of carbon in the industry. With 1.4m bottles entering the market, the findings will contribute to continuing work to find a scalable sustainable solution for the long-term, as the glass sector moves away from fossil fuels, and towards low-carbon alternatives.
Made from waste organic materials, biofuels are a renewable and much more sustainable fuel source than those traditionally used by the glass sector, and can reduce the production carbon footprint of each bottle by up to 90%. Additionally, by using up to 100% recycled glass to produce the new bottles, the trial has been able to minimise even further the environmental impact of these products.
Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Most of us are passionate about the environmental impact food and drink packaging is having on our planet and are making greener choices as a result. I congratulate Heineken, Encirc and Glass Futures on having the bottle to lead the way in decarbonising glass manufacturing in the food and drink sector.
“With £7.1 million government funding, this project is a huge leap forward in creating greener packaging and helping the UK end its contribution to carbon emissions by 2050 – something which we can all raise a glass to.”
Matt Callan, Brewing and Operations Director, HEINEKEN UK says: “The trial is a huge step forward in finding a scalable solution to reducing carbon from glass manufacturing. This is a great example of working together with different suppliers to advance sustainable practices. Testing 1.4m bottles in the market will provide much needed insight into the practicalities of introducing an ultra-low carbon option with glass, and the results will inform further development with the eventual goal of introducing low carbon bottles at scale.
“As part of our Brewing a Better World sustainability strategy, we have a continued focus on reducing CO2 from our entire supply chain. Collaboration is key – innovation, testing and trial will be at the heart of our continuous efforts to ‘Drop the C’. We welcome this industry wide initiative that connects drink producers, glass suppliers, policy makers and research institutes to advance the decarbonisation of their sectors. And with consumers recycling wherever possible, together we can reduce the impact
The low carbon bottle follows the introduction last year of the Green Grip cardboard topper which eliminates the needs for plastic rings on HEINEKEN’s cans of beer and cider.