UK launches project to lightweight glass bottles

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

Top brands, bottle manufacturers, retailers and technology experts
have teamed up under a UK-government programme to cut 20,000 tonnes
of glass from beer, cider and spirit packaging.

The project, which is being run by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), aims to make the cuts from the UK waste stream by March 2008. Finding ways to cut down on the glass used for bottles without compromising on strength could help beverage processors meet the increasing restrictions on packaging waste. Lighter weight bottles could also help them cut down on transportation costs. Scottish & Newcastle, Anheuser Busch, Coors UK, SAB Miller, Whyte & MacKay, Hall & Woodhouse, Fullers, and Robinsons are among the industry participants. The project will include an analysis of the complete supply chain, and also involves supermarket chain Morrisons, along with packagers Allied Glass, Beatson Clark, Quinn Glass, Rockware and O-I. The project, named GlassRite, will use consumer perception research, bottle performance testing, filling trials and market assessments to identify and solve the problems of lightweighting glass containers. WRAP project manager, Nicola Jenkin, said the organisation's research shows that if each glass container in the UK was just ten per cent lighter, industry would require 250,000 tonnes less glass per year. Carbon emissions would also be reduced by 180,000 tonnes, she said. Alcoholic drinks bottles make up a large proportion of the glass waste stream. "Being able to involve so many major players from across the supply chain in this project is further evidence that optimising packaging is a major priority for the industry,"​she said. Cost and carbon emissions savings will also be evaluated. Technology providers under the project will include GTS, consumer perception specialists at the University of Bangor and brewing experts at Brewing Research International. Other GlassRite projects are under way for the food, soft drinks and flavoured alcoholic beverages sector, and for wine. In all the GlassRite projects aim to reduce the weight of glass packaging by 60,000 tonnes by March 2008. WRAP's ContainerLite project has already demonstrated that significant glass packaging weight savings can be made without compromising pack strength or brand integrity, the organisation stated. Using the research, brewer Adnams reduced the weight of its 500ml bottle for ales by 34 per cent. The lighterweigh bottle is being used for such brands as Adnams Bitter, Explorer and Broadside. The British Glass Manufacturers' Confederation, the British Beer and Pub Association, the Gin and Vodka Association and Scotch Whisky Association are also participating in the projects.

Related topics: Smart Packaging

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