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Guinness removes plastic packaging from packs

April 30, 2019  By PrintAction Staff

Diageo, British spirits company and owner of Guinness, has announced plans to remove plastic from its beer packaging.

The £16-million (C$28-million) investment will see the introduction of 100-percent recyclable and biodegradable cardboard to replace plastic, and the replacement of multi-can packs by cardboard packs that sustainably sourced, recyclable and fully biodegradable. Plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap will be removed from multipacks of its beer brands, including Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s.

The new sustainable beer packs will be on shelves on the island of Ireland from August 2019 and from summer 2020 in Great Britain and other international markets. Individual cans are fully recyclable, including the widget which is contained inside cans of Draught Guinness.


According to the company, the investment will result in a reduction of plastic waste that is the equivalent of removing 40 million 50-cl plastic bottles from the world.

“For 260 years Guinness has played a vital role in the communities around us. We already have one of the most sustainable breweries in the world at St. James’s Gate and we are now leading the way in sustainable packaging. This is good news for the brand, for our wider beer portfolio and for the environment,” says Mark Sandys, Global Head of Beer, Baileys and Smirnoff.

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Currently, under 5 percent of Diageo’s total packaging around the world is plastic and in 2018, we announced new plastics targets from 2025 and beyond: These include that 100 percent of plastics used should be widely recyclable by 2025 and plastic bottles should be made of 100-percent recycled content by 2030.

“Great packaging is essential for our products. Consumers expect our packs to look beautiful, be functional, and sustainable. I am proud to announce this investment, through which we have been able to combine all three. We have been working tirelessly to make our packaging more environmentally friendly and I’m thrilled with this outcome for Guinness and our other global beer brands,” says David Cutter, Chief Sustainability Officer and President, Global Supply & Procurement.

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