Bacardi has unveiled plans to put what it called “the world’s most sustainable spirits bottle” on shelves by 2023.
The new 100% biodegradable bottle will replace 80 million plastic bottles – amounting to 3,000 tons of plastic – currently produced by Bacardi across its portfolio of brands every year.
The move is a result of a collaboration with Danimer Scientific, a developer and manufacturer of biodegradable products. Bacardi’s petroleum-based plastics will be replaced with a new chemical that Danimer’s boffins have made using plant-based oils. While regular plastic bottles take over 400 years to decompose, the new bottles break down completely in 18 months without leaving any harmful microplastics behind.
Bacardi rum will be the first spirit to appear in the new bottle, before the plant-based material is rolled out across the entire Bacardi supply chain and the company’s 200 brands and labels including Bombay Sapphire gin, Grey Goose vodka, Patrón tequila, Martini vermouth and Dewar’s Scotch whisky.
Bacardi is also creating a sustainably sourced paper bottle, although rival Diageo has beaten it to the punch, with a paper-based Johnnie Walker bottle due to debut in early 2021.
The Bacardi Packaging Development team is also close to cracking one of the beverage industry’s longest-standing plastic problems – the lining of bottle closures. Although an individual lining uses a negligible amount of material, the sheer number produced every day adds up to tons of plastic. Bacardi will then open source the solution for the entire industry to use. Jean-Marc Lambert, Senior Vice President, Global Operations for Bacardi, said: “This isn’t about competitive advantage – it’s about doing the right thing for the planet.”
The drinks giant has pledged to be 100% plastic-free in the next 10 years. As well as launching the new biopolymer bottle in 2023, it has also committed to removing all its non-essential, single-use plastic, including all plastic gift box materials and plastic point-of-sale materials, in the next three years.