In its largest pilot to date, Carlsberg Group has revealed the trial of its new Fibre Bottle with a plant-based PEF (polyethylene furanoate) polymer lining.
The pilot, which Carlsberg says is “vital” to its ambition of making the beer bottle a commercial reality, will see 8,000 Fibre Bottles being sampled in eight Western European markets: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, United Kingdom, Poland, Germany and France.
The bottles will be trialled by local consumers, customers and other stakeholders through select festivals and flagship events, as well as targeted product samplings.
Testing at this scale will give Carlsberg the opportunity to gather feedback on people’s experiences of the product, which will inform the next generation of design, it says.
A significant milestone for the Fibre Bottle is its plant-based PEF polymer lining, which has been developed by Carlsberg’s partner Avantium, a leading expert in renewable chemistry. PEF is made entirely from natural raw materials, is compatible with plastic recycling systems, and can degrade into nature should it end up outside national recycling systems, Carlsberg says.
Beyond its sustainable packaging benefits, Carlsberg says PEF functions as a “highly effective barrier between the beer and the fibre outer shell, protecting the taste and fizziness of the beer better than conventional fossil-fuel-based PET plastic”.
Identifying and producing PEF, as a competent functional barrier for beer, has been one of our greatest challenges – so getting good test results, collaborating with suppliers and seeing the bottles being filled on the line is a great achievement
The outer shell of the bottle, produced by the packaging company Paboco, consists of sustainably-sourced wood fibre and is also bio-based.
“This shell has the added benefit of insulative properties which can help keep beer colder for longer, compared to cans or glass bottles,” it says.
The bottle is 100% bio-based apart from the cap, which is currently needed to ensure the quality of the product, Carlsberg says, and together the bottle and cap are fully recyclable. Going forward, Paboco, Carlsberg and partners in the wider Paper Bottle Community are exploring alternative fibre-based bottle caps, with a generic solution expected in 2023. Carlsberg will continue development, together with Avantium and Paboco, to arrive at a tailored 3.0 solution that is equally suitable for primary beer packaging, using this year’s consumer feedback and Paboco’s developments.
Stephane Munch, VP Group Development at Carlsberg, says: “We are delighted to bring our new Fibre Bottle into the hands of consumers, allowing them to experience it for themselves. This pilot will serve a greater purpose in testing the production, performance and recycling of this product at scale.”
“Identifying and producing PEF, as a competent functional barrier for beer, has been one of our greatest challenges – so getting good test results, collaborating with suppliers and seeing the bottles being filled on the line is a great achievement!”
Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, Group Sustainability Director at Carlsberg, adds: “The progress made with our new Fibre Bottle is testament to Carlsberg’s pioneering spirit, with a focus on making better products in every sense of the word.
“We’ve been working hard on this project since 2015 and aim to continue to set the industry standard by further improving the bottle’s environmental footprint and product performance. Collaboration is key and, together with our partners, we’re excited to see how research and development into sustainable packaging solutions is now becoming the norm.”