Global wine and spirits company Bacardi announced today the introduction of a new 100% biodegradable bottle. The company stated that the new bottle, developed in collaboration with biodegradable product manufacturer and developer Danimer Scientific, will replace 80 Million plastic bottles – 3,000 tons of plastic – currently produced by Bacardi across its portfolio of brands every year. The bottle is expected to be on shelves by 2023.

The new bottle is based on Danimer’s Nodax PHA, a biopolymer which derives from the natural oils of plant seeds such as palm, canola and soy, avoiding the need to use fossil fuel-based products as a plastic source. According to Bacardi, the new product will biodegrade in a wide range of environments, including compost, soil, freshwater and sea water, and after 18 months disappear without leaving behind harmful microplastics, compared to a regular plastic bottle, which takes over 400 years to decompose.

Scott Tuten, Chief Marketing & Sustainability Officer at Danimer Scientific, said:

“Nodax PHA is one of the most promising eco-friendly materials in the world today because it delivers the biodegradability that consumers demand without losing the quality feel they receive from traditional plastic. The material provides the best of both worlds, and we look forward to working with Bacardi and incorporating PHA into their iconic packaging.”

The company stated that the first spirit to appear in the new bottle will be BACARDI rum, and the new material will be used eventually to replace single-use plastic across the entire Bacardi supply chain.

In addition to producing the biodegradable bottle, Bacardi said that the newly developed biopolymer will be used to solve the beverage industry’s problem of the plastic lining of bottle closures.

Jean-Marc Lambert, Senior Vice President, Global Operations for Bacardi, said:

“It may sound small. But add that up across every bottle produced globally and we’re talking many tons of plastic every day. Once we’ve fixed the problem, we’ll be open sourcing the solution for the entire industry to use. This isn’t about competitive advantage it’s about doing the right thing for the planet.”

Bacardi said that it is also creating a sustainably sourced paper bottle, integrating the new polymer, creating an alternative packaging solution with equally strong environmental credentials while ensuring the quality and taste of the spirit inside a bottle made of paper is as exceptional as one made of glass.

According to Bacardi, today’s announcement represents a major step towards the achievement of its goal of being 100% plastic-free in the next 10 years. The company has also committed to removing all its non-essential, single-use plastic, including all plastic gift box materials and plastic point-of-sale materials, in the next three years.

Ned Duggan, Senior Vice President, BACARDÍ rum, said:

“Over our 158-year history, BACARDÍ has always believed in respecting the world’s natural resources and acting responsibly, from the sustainable sourcing of our sugarcane to the water and energy used to make our rum. We’re now excited to be pioneering this new biopolymer technology for the benefit of all Bacardi brands and the entire spirits industry.”