Guinness has announced that it’s removing all plastic from multipacks of the Irish stout brand as part of its industry-leading drive to reduce pollution.
Diageo, the company that owns the Guinness brand, also plans to replace the plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap on packs of Harp lager, Rockshore and Smithwick’s beers with 100% recyclable and biodegradable cardboard in a £16 million eco initiative.
The plastic pack rings, called hi-cones or yokes, bind multipacks of canned drinks, particularly beers and have been in use for over half a century. While convenient, they are a big contributor to ever-increasing ocean plastic pollution that threatens marine life.
Other drinks companies have also been busy in addressing the single-use plastics scourge. Last year, Carlsberg announced it will use a recyclable glue to hold together its beer packs, reducing the amount of plastic by up to 76%. Initially in the UK the Carlsberg Export brand packs will change but eventually the company will switch its entire drinks portfolio, including Tuborg and San Miguel.
Plastic waste to treble
According to the UK’s Government Office for science, plastic waste in the oceans will treble in the next decade. The study’s higher estimate indicates that waste could rise from less than 100 million metric tonnes in 2015 to almost 250 million metric tonnes in 2025.
From this August, multipacks of Guinness sold in Ireland will have the new recyclable material and the eco-friendly packaging will then be launched in the UK and globally next year.
Diageo advises that less than 5% of its packaging is plastic and the latest move would further reduce usage by more than 400 tonnes annually, the equivalent of 40 million 50cl plastic bottles.
The focus on the reduction of single-use plastics has been sharpened through programmes like BBC’s Blue Planet 2, narrated by Sir David Attenborough and a broad range of companies, from drinks and food manufacturers to supermarkets and other retailers have announced plans to reduce or eliminate their use.
The “Attenborough Effect”
The Diageo initiative also reflects the changing mood among consumers, with more than half of those polled in a recent study stating that they had reduced the amount of disposable plastic they use by up to half in the past year. The report named the drastic change in people’s attitudes and behaviour “the Attenborough effect”.
At SaveMoneyCutCarbon, the team are making their own changes at home to reduce single-use plastic use and it would great to hear and share how you are making a difference with changes at home and work. Tweet us your story at @savecutcarbon and spread the good news via #AttenboroughEffect.