£22m investment in multipack packaging will see the firm replace 517 tonnes of plastic annually by the end of 2021, saving the equivalent of 94 million plastic bags
Grabbing a six-pack held together by plastic rings from the local corner store can be a guilt-ridden experience for anyone conscious of the plastic waste crisis afflicting the world's eco-systems.
But now Dutch brewing giant Heineken is set to free lager drinkers from that burden, with the invention of a 100 per cent plastic-free multipack topper made from sustainably sourced cardboard.
The new innovation, which is 100 per cent recyclable and compostable, will remove 517 tonnes of plastic and shrink wrapping annually by the end of 2021, the firm said - saving the equivalent of 94 million plastic bags.
The new packaging will replace plastic rings across Heineken, Foster's, and Strongbow multipack cans from April 2020, before being rolled out to cover the brand's entire portfolio of canned multipacks by the end of 2021.
The £22m investment in cardboard rings forms part of Heineken's 'Brewing a Better World' sustainability strategy, which has seen the firm introduce refillable kegs of draught beer and cider, slash CO2 emissions through investments in new technology, and trial deposit return schemes at festivals.
Heineken's latest innovation joins a raft of recent initiatives from drinks firms aiming to tackle the single-use plastics crisis that is fuelled by the industry.
In the US, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Keurig Dr Pepper rcently announced major plans to invest in collection schemes for plastic bottles in a bid to ramp up the proportion that are recycled. And last week, Italian espresso giant Lavazza launched a new compostable coffee pod, while rival Nespresso has turned its waste pods into bikes, pens and Swiss Army knives.
Heineken's rival Carlsberg is also working to bring an end to the plastic ring multipack, having previously unveiled a new waste-cutting glue-based design that allows cans to stick together, while drinks giant Diageo has similarly moved to end the use of plastics in its multipacks.