Beer maker Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I has announced that it will be removing plastic rings and film wraps from the packaging in its entire UK-produced canned beer range by the end of 2020.
The manufacturer will be replacing the LDPE plastic rings, which are used to hold together multipacks of canned beers across lines including Budweiser, Stella Artois, Bud Light and Beck’s, using instead a cardboard sleeve to package the items.
Budweiser Brewing Group will also be using Keel Clips, a paperboard wrap that securely connects packs of four, six or eight cans by covering the top of the cans.
An investment of £6.3 million has been made to support the commitment, in order to reconfigure production at the company’s two main UK breweries at Magor in South wales and Samlesbury in Lancashire.
In total the move will result in the removal of around 250 tonnes of plastic rings, and 600 tonnes of plastic shrink film, Budweiser Brewing says.
Paula Lindenberg, President of Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, said: “Protecting our natural resources and operating efficiently is crucial for our business, as well as the communities we live and work in. This is why we have spent the past decade investing in circular packaging initiatives around the world to close the loop and reduce waste.
“We’re proud of the work we’ve already done so far, but we realised more needed to be done to address the issue of single use plastics. This announcement ensures that the UK’s favourite beers will soon come in recyclable paperboard packaging, so consumers can make even better choices each time they shop.”
Budweiser is the latest drinks maker to announce plans to remove plastics from its multipack packaging lines, with Coca Cola having last week announced that it is removing the shrink wrap sleeves from its four, six and eight can multipacks (see letsrecycle.com story).
In 2018, beer producer Carlsberg announced the introduction of a ‘snap-pack’ packaging design to remove the need to use plastic ring-carriers on some of its products (see letsrecycle.com story).
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow has described Budweiser’s plan to remove single-use plastics as ‘hugely encouraging’.
“I’m hugely encouraged to see a major company like Budweiser Brewing Group UKI making substantial investment in green technology to significantly cut its use of plastic by over 850 tonnes a year”
She said: “Blue Planet II shone a harsh spotlight on the devastating impact plastic pollution has on our world. Through our landmark Resources and Waste strategy, we’re working to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste and we’ve made real progress – driving down plastic bag use by 90% through the 5p charge, introducing a world-leading ban on microbeads and setting out plans for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers to push up recycling rates.
“But, we can’t turn the tide on plastic pollution alone so I’m hugely encouraged to see a major company like Budweiser Brewing Group UKI making substantial investment in green technology to significantly cut its use of plastic by over 850 tonnes a year, the equivalent weight of 67 double decker buses.”