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Largest study to date: Carlsberg provides consumers with bio-based and fully recyclable bottles


Copenhagen, Denmark (ots/PRNewswire) – Carlsberg Group today unveiled the test of its new Fibre Bottle in its largest pilot project to date, putting the bio-based and fully recyclable beer bottle into the hands of consumers for the first time. Thanks to the company’s continued focus on evolving technologies and sustainable practices, the bottle also contains beer brewed with organic and renewable barley.

The pilot project, which is critical to actually bringing the beer bottle to market as envisioned by Carlsberg, will see 8,000 Fibre Bottles trialed in eight Western European markets: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, Poland, Germany and France. The bottles will be put into the hands of consumers, customers and other stakeholders locally through selected festivals and flagship events, as well as targeted product sampling. Testing at this scale provides Carlsberg with the opportunity to gather feedback on customers’ experiences with the product, which will then shape the next generation of the design.

The new Fibre Bottle harnesses the potential of PEF

A key milestone for the Fibre Bottle is the plant-based PEF polymer lining, developed by Carlsberg partner Avantium, a leading expert in renewable chemistry. PEF is made entirely from natural raw materials, is compatible with plastic recycling systems and can decompose into nature if it ends up outside of national recycling systems. In addition to its sustainable packaging benefits, PEF acts as a highly effective barrier between the beer and the fiber outer shell, protecting the taste and effervescence of the beer better than traditional fossil-based PET plastic.

The outer shell of the bottle, manufactured by packaging company Paboco, is made from sustainably sourced wood fiber and is also bio-based. This shell has the added benefit of insulating properties that keep beer colder for longer compared to cans or glass bottles.

Stephane Munch, VP of Group Development at Carlsberg, explains, “We are excited to put our new Fibre Bottle in the hands of consumers so they can experience it for themselves. This pilot serves a larger purpose by testing the production, performance and recycling of this product at scale.”

“Identifying and producing PEF as a competent functional barrier for beer has been one of our biggest challenges – so getting good test results, working with suppliers and getting the bottles filled as standard is a great achievement!”

The bottle is 100% bio-based, apart from the cap, which is currently required to ensure the quality of the product, and together the bottle and cap are fully recyclable. In the coming period, Paboco, Carlsberg and other paper bottle partners are exploring alternative fiber-based bottle closures, with a generic solution expected in 2023. Carlsberg will continue development with Avantium and Paboco to develop a customized 3.0 solution equally suited for primary beer packaging, using this year’s consumer feedback and Paboco developments as a foundation.

Brewed with unconventional barley

The advances don’t stop at the bottle, however:
Carlsberg has also bottled a more sustainable brew for its 2022 consumer tests. Working with barley malt supplier Soufflet, Carlsberg has brewed a beer with barley grown entirely organically and regeneratively. More specifically, cover crops were grown on the organic barley fields to bring in a few extra benefits of regenerative agriculture.

While consumers can continue to count on the same distinctive Carlsberg taste, the methods used to manage the barley are designed to enhance farmland biodiversity, improve soil health and increase natural carbon sequestration by the soil compared to conventional farming methods.

Constantly striving for improvement

Generation 2.0 of the Fibre Bottle is already performing better than the single-use glass bottle in product lifecycle assessments, and Carlsberg has even greater ambitions for the subsequent design of Generation 3.0. According to Carlsberg’s vision, supported by current projections, the Fiber Bottle is expected to produce up to 80% fewer emissions than current single-use glass bottles.

Thus, for every single disposable glass bottle produced, five Fibre Bottles could be produced with the same carbon footprint. Ultimately, Carlsberg aims for the Fibre Bottle to achieve the same low carbon footprint as the refillable glass bottle. It is currently the best performing primary packaging when collected and reused in efficient systems. When commercialized on a large scale, the Fibre Bottle will increase Carlsberg consumers’ choice and complement, rather than replace, existing packaging such as glass bottles and cans.

Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, Group Head of Sustainability at Carlsberg, adds, “The progress made with our new Fiber Bottle is a testament to Carlsberg’s pioneering spirit, which prioritizes creating better products in every way. We have been working hard on this project since 2015 and aim to continue to set the industry standard by further improving the environmental footprint and product performance of the bottle. Collaboration is key and we look forward to making research and development of sustainable packaging solutions the norm together with our partners.”

The trial precedes the global launch of Carlsberg’s ambitious ESG program, Together Towards Zero and Beyond, which will build on existing sustainability performance and momentum to set itself new targets in the areas of sustainable agriculture and sustainable packaging. This will enable Carlsberg to reduce its CO2 emissions throughout the value chain.

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