Heineken UK to eliminate plastics rings and shrink wrapping

Heineken UK is to remove plastics rings and shrink wrapping from its entire portfolio of beer and cider multi-pack cans and replace it with a sustainably sourced 100 per cent recyclable and compostable cardboard topper.

The move follows a £22 million ($28m) investment by Heineken to eliminate 517 tonnes of plastics annually from its supply chain. The brewer plans to introduce the new topper across Heineken, Foster’s and Kronenbourg 1664 multi-pack cans sold by UK retailers from April 2020. All Heineken brands in multi-pack cans, including Strongbow, Bulmer’s and John Smith’s, will follow by the end of 2021.

The investment will be split between Heineken’s Manchester, Tadcaster and Hereford sites, with the technology piloted at the Manchester brewery before the end of the year. The removal of plastic rings and shrink wrapping is part of the company’s Brewing a Better World sustainability strategy.

Over the past three years, Heineken UK has developed several environmentally friendly approaches – including light-weighting its glass bottles and aluminium cans, trialling deposit return schemes at festivals to encourage recycling and decreasing carbon dioxide by 68 per cent since 2008 through investments in new technology.

“Creating an eco-friendly solution that eliminates plastics while still meeting the demands of our beer and cider drinkers has been a big focus in our business,” said Cindy Tervoort, UK marketing director of Heineken. “Now, after years in development and huge investment, we’re extremely pleased to announce our recyclable and compostable topper innovation, a significant milestone in our journey to eliminate all single-use plastics.”