June 23, 2022

Beer giant Carlsberg is trialling a new bio-based, fully recyclable fibre bottle with consumers for the first time. It is the largest pilot to date and has added significance because the bottle also contains beer brewed with organic and regenerative barley.

The test will see 8,000 fibre beer bottles sampled in eight markets: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, United Kingdom, Poland, Germany and France. The bottles will be handed out at select festivals and flagship events, as well as targeted product samplings.

Denmark-based Carlsberg said: “Testing at this scale provides an opportunity to gather feedback on people’s experiences of the product which will inform the next generation of design.”

Leveraging the potential of PEF

A milestone for the new bottle is its plant-based PEF polymer lining which has been developed by Avantium, an expert in renewable chemistry. PEF is made entirely from natural raw materials, is compatible with plastic recycling systems, and can degrade into nature should it not end up being recycled.

These bottles are 100% bio-based apart from the cap (for now).

Beyond the sustainable packaging benefits, PEF is claimed to be a highly effective barrier between the beer and the fibre outer shell, protecting the taste and fizz of the beer better than conventional PET plastic. The outer shell of the bottle, produced by the packaging company Paboco, consists of sustainably-sourced wood fibre and is also bio-based. This shell has insulating properties which can help keep beer colder for longer, compared to cans or glass bottles. The bottle is 100% bio-based apart from the cap, which is currently needed to ensure the quality of the product, but it is fully recyclable.

Going forwards, Paboco, Carlsberg and other partners involved in paper bottling are exploring alternative fibre-based bottle caps, with a generic solution expected in 2023. Carlsberg said it would continue development, together with Avantium and Paboco, to arrive at a tailored 3.0 solution that is equally suitable for primary beer packaging.

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