Three of the world’s biggest FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) companies have announced plans to create 100% plastic-free paper bottles. Diageo will introduce paper-based bottles for its Johnny Walker whisky brand, which will be made from sustainably-sourced pulp and recyclable in standard waste streams. The bottles will be manufactured by Pulpex, a joint venture between Diageo and venture management company Pilot Lite that will focus on sustainable packaging.
Pulpex will also create paper bottles for Unilever and PepsiCo, which are also set to hit the market next year. Consumer goods companies are coming under increasing pressure to act on plastic packaging from governments, consumers, retailers and investors. “Renewable, recyclable and biodegradable pulp bottles have the potential to deliver significant improvements on the carbon footprint of glass bottles (90% savings) and PET (30% savings), addressing recycling rates and access to recycling infrastructure and removes harmful plastic fibres from the environment,” the company says.
Taking a different approach is Loop, an offshoot of Terracycle, a company that specializes in hard-to-recycle goods such as toothpaste tubes, juice boxes, chip packets and plastic gloves. Loop is also partnering with Unilever and PepsiCo, as well as other huge groups such as Mars, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Mondelēz and Danone, as well as a number of smaller brands.
Loop is introducing reusable packaging for a range of products, which customers return once they have finished the product instead of throwing it away. Loop then cleans it and reuses it. The products range from sauces, yoghurt and beverages to soap, shampoo, moisturiser and toothpaste. Customers pay a deposit for each piece of packaging, which is refunded when the packaging is returned. Loop will, in effect, be acting as an online retailer, but one that retains ownership of and responsibility for the packaging of the products. The company aims to roll out the scheme to supermarkets. The scheme has just launched in the UK with the country’s largest supermarket chain Tesco, following a pilot scheme in Paris in 2019 in conjunction with the retailer Carrefour.