Diageo launches new whisky bottle made from paper

The world’s biggest whisky producer will premiere its new plastic-free bottle with Johnnie Walker, forming part of a new initiative with Unilever and PepsiCo to invest in sustainable packaging technology.

13 July 2020


Diageo, the world’s biggest producer of whisky and the company behind dozens of alcohol brands such as Smirnoff, Guinness, Tanqeray and Captain Morgan, has announced the launch of the first ever 100% paper-based spirits bottle for the mainstream market. Plastic-free and paper-based, made from sustainably sourced wood, the bottle will debut with Johnnie Walker whisky in early 2021. It forms part of an initiative spearheaded by Diageo together with rival companies Unilever and PepsiCo to launch Pulpex Limited, a sustainable packaging technology company (in partnership with venture management company Pilot Lite). Each of the companies is also expected to launch their own sustainable packaging in early 2021.

The bottle was designed and developed by Pulpex Limited to be the first scalable and fully recyclable paper-based bottle. It is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards. Diageo says the technology will allow brands to “rethink their packaging designs or move existing designs into paper, whilst not compromising on quality”. The technology allows for a variety of single-mould bottle designs to be used across a variety of liquid products.

Goal 12 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals calls for responsible consumption and production, and many of the drinks industry’s best-known brands have been stepping up. Last week (8 July) Evian launched its new label-free, 100% recyclable, 100% recycled bottle, addressing the issue that bottle labels are not widely recyclable by instead engraving its label design. The brand aims to become fully circular by 2025. Carlsberg launched a paper bottle in late 2019.

Unilever’s Richard Slater says the company is going to halve its use of virgin plastic and reduce the use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes in the next five years. “Joining forces (on Pulpex Limitied) to develop and test paper bottles is an incredibly exciting step forward, and we’re delighted to be working together to tackle one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time.”

PepsiCo’s Simon Lowden said that the Pulpex consortium “is well positioned to deliver sustainable packaging at scale and across industries, having impact beyond what any organisation could achieve alone.”


Evian label-free, 100% recyclable bottle


Carlsberg paper beer bottle

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Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output.

Jenny is currently on maternity leave.

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