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  • Diageo announced the £16 million-investment (US$$21 million) to switch from plastic carriers which are especially harmful to turtles.

    Diageo announced the £16 million-investment (US$$21 million) to switch from plastic carriers which are especially harmful to turtles. | Photo: Diageo/Reuters

Published 20 April 2019

Guinness' new sustainable carrier packaging aims to help the beverage company reduce its annual plastic waste by 400,000 kilograms. 

Popular European drink brand Guinness has pledged millions of dollars to replace shrink wrap and plastic ring carriers with a more eco-friendly, 100% recyclable and biodegradable carrier.  

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“The multi-can packs will be replaced by cardboard packs, which are sustainably sourced, recyclable and fully biodegradable,” according to parent company Diageo. “Individual cans are fully recyclable, including the widget which is contained inside cans of Draught Guinness.”

Diageo announced that the company will be investing some £16 million (US$$21 million) to make the switch from the notorious plastic pollutant which has proved to be extraordinarily harmful to marine animals, specifically turtles.

Last Sept., researchers disclosed that there was one in five chance of death for a turtle who consumed one plastic item, adding that the statistics rose to 50% if the animal consumed 14 pieces.

Guinness new sustainable carrier packaging was launched to help the parent of the beverage company reduce its annual plastic waste by about 400,000 kilograms. 

"For 260 years Guinness has played a vital role in the communities around us. 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," Mark Sandys, global head of beer, Baileys and Smirnoff for Diageo, said.

Diageo estimates that the new Guinness carrier case initiative will eliminate 40 million 500-milliliter plastic bottles, which, if laid out end-to-end, would stretch from London to Beijing or New York City to Honolulu.

"Consumers expect our packs to look beautiful, be functional, and sustainable. I am proud to announce this investment, through which we have been able to combine all three. We have been working tirelessly to make our packaging more environmentally friendly," David Cutter, Diageo's chief sustainability officer told The Telegraph.

Last year, the company rolled out general sustainability targets. The first phase pledges that some 40% of the company’s plastics will be a recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, and 100% five years later in 2030.

Previously, in July 2018, Diageo had phased out single-use plastic bottles and other catering items from their offices and manufacturing sites, and committed to eliminating plastic straws and stirrers globally.

The new Guinness packaging will hit the shelves in Ireland in August, then Great Britain and international markets in summer 2020.

Also, for 2020, the company has set four sustainable packaging goals: reduce total packaging weight by 15%, increase recycled content to 45%, make 100% of packaging recyclable or reusable, and sustainably source all paper and board packaging, an Environmental Leader report stated.

Diageo’s brands are sold in more than 180 countries worldwide and include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Cîroc, Ketel One, Smirnoff, and Tanqueray.


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