Pernod Ricard spirits brand Absolut Vodka announced the launch of a trial of a new paper-based bottle in the UK, with a lower carbon footprint and significantly lighter weight than its traditional glass bottles.

According to Absolut, the trial will mark the first time that a paper-based bottle will be sold commercially in-store by a global spirits company.

Absolut said that the initiative also represents an important step towards its goals of becoming a carbon neutral product by 2030 and to achieve a fully bio-based bottle. Glass bottle production represents approximately half of Abolut’s climate impact.

Elin Furelid, Director of Future Packaging at Absolut, said:

“This is a step closer towards our vision of a fully bio-based bottle. We are exploring packaging that has a completely different value proposition. Paper is tactile; it’s beautiful; it’s authentic; it’s light. That was our starting point. But this is not just an idea on paper.”

The new 500 ml bottle is made from 57% paper, with an integrated barrier of recyclable plastic, and can be recycled by consumers as paper through normal household waste.

The initiative forms part of a collaboration with Paboco (“the Paper Bottle Company”). Launched in 2019 following a collaboration with Carlsberg Group, Danish innovation company EcoXpac (now majority-owned by Swedish pulp and paper company BillerudKorsnäs) and bottle manufacturer Alpla, Paboco is also working with brands including The Coca-Cola Company, Carlsberg, P&G and L’Oréal to collectively improve packaging sustainability for the drinks and packaging industries.

According to Paboco, the new bottle is 8 times lighter than the glass bottle currently in use, and with a lower carbon footprint.

Charl Bassil, Global VP Absolut, said:

“Absolut Vodka has a rich heritage of collaborations and partnerships, and the brand is working towards developing packaging solutions that consumers want and our planet needs. Absolut remains committed to a sustainable future in which it continues to mix things up, with recyclable lighter paper-based bottles to complement Absolut’s iconic glass bottles.  This ground-breaking test takes Absolut a step closer to that becoming a reality.”

The 3 month trial will see the bottles sold in Tesco stores across Greater Manchester this summer. According to Absolut, Manchester’s high recycling rates and facilities create a good match for the trial.

Furelid added:

“We want consumers and partners to join our journey towards a more sustainable future. Together we can develop packaging solutions that people want and the world needs. That’s why bold partnerships with like-minded organisations to test the waters are going to be evermore crucial on our net zero journey.”

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