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Brewery converts packaging around cans to 100% recycled plastic

The Danish brewery Carlsberg is now converting all wraps on can packaging to recycled plastic. This includes the entire beer and soda portfolio, including Coca-Cola products, and is expected to save over 500 tonnes of new plastic per year – or the equivalent of 25 million plastic shopping bags.

Carlsberg’s innovation journey towards more sustainable packaging continues as part of the company’s sustainability program, Together Towards ZERO. After months of testing, the can packaging is now converted to 100% recycled plastic on all can packages where the plastic-reducing Snap Pack  is not used.

The new initiative also includes Coca-Cola’s products in Denmark, as these are produced by Carlsberg at the Fredericia bottling plant.

“We have carried out a large number of tests to ensure that the quality meets our high standards, and we are now ready to introduce products where the cover is made of 100% recycled plastic. This is another good step towards more sustainable packaging, and we will continue to optimise all our packaging,” says Charlotte C. Søgaard, Production Manager at Brewing and Processing at Carlsberg Denmark.

Reducing carbon footprint

The new recycled plastic reduces the CO2 footprint by 60% compared to traditional plastic packaging. Carlsberg is now starting the conversion in Denmark on the large multipacks to 100% recycled plastic and overall this means that Carlsberg reduces the consumption of new plastic by over 500 tonnes per year. The new 100% recycled plastic has been tested on various can packages and production lines to ensure that the material meets the high-quality requirements of Carlsberg and Coca-Cola. The recycled plastic mainly comes from Carlsberg’s own production, giving new life to a large part of the plastic packaging that is delivered to the brewery today.

“We are giving the material new life through recycling, and there is something satisfying about the fact that here in Fredericia, we have created a solution where we can increase the recycling rate of plastic covers to 100%, including plastic from our own waste stream at the brewery. Of course, that doesn’t solve all the challenges, but it’s a step in a right and more circular direction,” says Charlotte C. Søgaard.

A step in a major sustainable transition

Carlsberg’s focus on innovative, sustainable packaging forms is nothing new. In 2018, the Danish brewery launched several innovative packaging solutions, including better caps, sustainable inks and Snap Pack, which completely removes the plastic around the traditional 6-pack by gluing the cans together instead. Carlsberg’s sustainability program, Together Towards ZERO, aims to achieve ZERO CO2 emissions from Carlsberg’s breweries and reduce CO2 emissions throughout the value chain by 30% in 2030. Coca-Cola aims to collect and recycle 100% of the produced packaging in Western Europe in 2025 and worldwide in 2030.

Source: Carlsberg