The Danish brewer announced last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that it will start a three-year project with packaging firm ecoXpac – as well as Innovation Fund Denmark and Technical University of Denmark, to develop a bio-based, biodegradable bottle from sustainable wood fiber.
We asked Simon Hoffmeyer Boas, CSR director, Carlsberg Group, what potential the brewer believes such the 'Green Fiber Bottle' has. Will it form a small or large proportion of the brewer’s packaging mix?
'We have high hopes for the bottle': Simon Hoffmeyer Boas
“In the beginning it would naturally be a small part of the packaging mix, but we have high hopes for the bottle, and believe it can bring new and interesting consumption experiences to our consumers, and also help us to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by using a renewable primary raw-material for the bottles,” he said.
In terms of a timeframe, Hoffmeyer Boas is optimistic. “It is a three-year development project, so at the end of this period, we would hope to have a viable end product,” he said. We already have a prototype developed, but there is further work to be done before it’s ready for market deployment.
Impulse drying technology will be technological cornerstone
What about the key technical challenges the project will have to overcome – in terms of storing and keeping a carbonated product, and rivaling the qualities of glass and cans?
“We will be working on various technical challenges, including the development of the impulse drying technology that will be the cornerstone in creating a cost-efficient wood-fiber mold, fully biodegradable cap, coatings and inks and binders,” Hoffmeyer Boas said.
“The end product will of course live up to Carlsberg’s high quality standards, and be developed to meet the requirements for classification as a food contact material and pass testing of organoleptic properties.
Since, presumably, the bottle won’t be wholly made out of wood, what other materials does Carlsberg plan to use, and what are their sustainability credentials like?
The material selection process...
“All materials in the bottle, as well as the cap, will be developed based on a selection of biodegradable materials, principally sustainably sourced wood-fiber,” Hoffmeyer Boas said.
“As it is a development project over the next three years, we do not yet know the final composition of all materials. However, as stated, all materials will be bio-based and biodegradable,” he added.
Boas said that ecoXpac and Carlsberg started discussions in 2014 with a view to forming the partnership.
“It is one of the ambitions of our work within the Carlsberg Circular Community to bring more sustainable innovations to the market through partnerships, and the cooperation with ecoXpac is a great example of making this commitment come alive,” Boas said.
The Carlsberg Circular Community (CCC) is a collaboration with selected partners (ecoXpac is now one of eight) that aims to pursue a circular, zero-waste economy using the trademarked Cradle to Cradle framework when developing and marketing new products.
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