Global beer and spirits company Diageo announced today that it has created the world’s first ever 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood. Diageo will debut the new sustainable packaging concept on its leading Johnnie Walker scotch whisky brand early next year.

The new plastic-free bottle is expected to be 100% recyclable, and will be made from sustainably sourced pulp, and in accordance with food-safe standards. Diageo stated that the new bottle will form part of Diageo’s commitment towards Goal 12 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’.

Ewan Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer, Diageo PLC, said:

“We’re proud to have created this world first. We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging and this bottle has the potential to be truly ground-breaking. It feels fitting that we should launch it with Johnnie Walker, a brand that has often led the way in innovation throughout its 200 years existence.”

Diageo is introducing the new bottle in conjunction with the announcement of a partnership the company has formed with venture management firm Pilot Lite, to form Pulpex Limited, a new sustainable packaging technology company. Pulpex’s technology allows it to produce a variety of plastic-free, single mould bottles that can be used across a range of consumer goods, and has been designed to contain a variety of liquid products.

Pulpex has already formed partnerships with several non-competing companies in various consumer goods categories, including Unilever, and PepsiCo, and anticipates announcing new partnerships later this year. Pulpex expects the other partners to launch their own paper-based bottles in 2021.

Richard Slater, Chief R&D Officer, Unilever, said:

“We believe in tackling plastic waste through innovation and collaboration. We are going to halve our use of virgin plastic at Unilever, reducing our use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes in the next five years. Joining forces to develop and test paper bottles is an incredibly exciting step forward, and we’re delighted to be working together to tackle one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time.”

Simon Lowden, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo, said:

“Innovative solutions and partnerships are critical to driving meaningful progress toward a circular economy. The Pulpex consortium is well positioned to deliver sustainable packaging at scale and across industries, having impact beyond what any organization could achieve alone. We’re proud to be a part of it.”

Sandy Westwater, Director, Pilot Lite said:

“We’re thrilled to be working with global brand leaders in this consortium. By working together, we can use the collective power of the brands to help minimise the environmental footprint of packaging by changing manufacturing and consumer behaviours.”