Spirits maker to move to new 100% biodegradable spirits bottles by 2023

CUBA – Spirits company Bacardi has unveiled plans to launch a new biopolymer spirits bottle in 2023, which it says will biodegrade in 18 months without leaving behind harmful microplastics.

The new 100% biodegradable bottle will be rolled out to replace single-use plastic across the company’s entire supply chain and its 200 brands and labels, starting with Bacardí rum.

Bacardi currently produces around 80 million plastic bottles, amounting to 3,000 tons of plastic, across its portfolio of brands every year.

“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,” said Ned Duggan, senior vice president, Bacardí rum.

“We’re now excited to be pioneering this new biopolymer technology for the benefit of all Bacardi brands and the entire spirits industry.”

Ned Duggan – Senior vice president, Bacardí rum

“We’re now excited to be pioneering this new biopolymer technology for the benefit of all Bacardi brands and the entire spirits industry.”

Bacardi is collaborating with Danimer Scientific, a leading developer and manufacturer of biodegradable products. Petroleum-based plastics used by Bacardi today will be replaced by Danimer Scientific’s Nodax PHA, a biopolymer that derives from the natural oils of plant seeds such as palm, canola, and soy.

While a regular plastic bottle takes more than 400 years to decompose, the new spirits bottle made from Nodax PHA 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.

Derived from the oils of plant seeds such as palm, canola and soy, the material will reportedly biodegrade in a wide range of environments.

“When we set ourselves the goal of being 100% plastic free by 2030, we knew that it would take ground-breaking advances in packaging design to make it achievable, and that’s exactly what’s happening through our partnership with Danimer,” Jean-Marc Lambert, senior vice president, global operations for Bacardi, said.

Bacardi also hopes to use the plant-based material to tackle another one of the beverage industry’s plastic challenges: the plastic lining of bottle closures.

“It may sound small but add that up across every bottle produced globally and we’re talking many tons of plastic everyday. 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,” Lambert added.

Bacardi added that today’s announcement represents a major step towards the company achieving its goal of being 100% plastic-free in the next 10 years.

As well as launching the new biopolymer bottle in 2023, 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.

In addition, Bacardi says that it is also creating a sustainably sourced paper bottle that integrates the Nodax PHA polymer to help ensure the quality and taste of the spirit.

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