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Bacardi takes a leap to ‘world’s most sustainable spirits bottle’ by 2023

Bacardi, the world’s largest family-owned spirits company, says it will use 100% biodegradable bottles for all of its spirits by 2023.

As part of this move, the Bermudian-based firm has launched a 100% biodegradable bottle, which it says will replace the 80 million plastic bottles currently produced in its portfolio of brands every year.

To create the bottle, Bacardi has closely collaborated with Danimer Scientific, a leading developer and manufacturer of biodegradable products.

The petroleum-based plastics currently being used will be replaced by Danimer Scientific’s Nodax PHA, a biopolymer that derives from the natural oils of plant seeds such as palm, canola and soy.

Bacardi says the new spirits bottles will be able to biodegrade in a wide range of environments, including compost, soil, freshwater and seawater, and after 18 months disappear without leaving behind harmful microplastics.

Bacardi’s senior vice-president of global operations Jean-Marc Lambert said: “When we set ourselves the goal of being 100% plastic-free by 2030, we knew that it would take ground-breaking advances in packaging design to make it achievable, and that’s exactly what’s happening through our partnership with Danimer.”

Because of the new material, the Bacardi Packaging Development team will also look to crack one of the beverage industry’s longest-standing plastic problems – the plastic lining of bottle closures.

Lambert explained: “It may sound small, but add that up across every bottle produced globally and we’re talking many tonnes of plastic every day.

“Once we’ve fixed the problem, we’ll be open-sourcing the solution for the entire industry to use.

“This isn’t about the competitive advantage it’s about doing the right thing for the planet.”

Bacardi rum will be the first to appear in the new bottle. It will eventually be rolled out for the company’s entire 200 brands that include Bombay Sapphire gin, Grey Goose vodka, Patrón tequila, Martini vermouth and Dewar’s Scotch whisky.

 Bacardi rum’s senior vice-president Ned Duggan said: “Over our 158-year history, Bacardi has always believed in respecting the world’s natural resources and acting responsibly, from the sustainable sourcing of our sugarcane to the water and energy used to make our rum.

“We’re now excited to be pioneering this new biopolymer technology for the benefit of all Bacardi brands and the entire spirits industry.”

Also looking to a paper bottle

As well as the new 100% biopolymer spirits bottle, Bacardi is also creating a sustainably sourced paper bottle.

By integrating the Nodax PHA polymer, this alternative solution will have equally strong environmental credentials while ensuring the quality and taste of the spirit inside a bottle made of paper.

Bacardi says the announcement represents a step towards achieving its goal of being 100% plastic-free in the next ten years.

As well as launching the new biopolymer bottle in 2023, the company has committed to removing all its non-essential single-use plastic in the next three years.

Nodax PHA was verified as a truly biodegradable alternative to petrochemical plastics by the University of Georgia’s New Materials Institute in a 2018 study.

Danimer Scientific’s chief marketing and sustainability officer Scott Tuten said: “Nodax PHA is one of the most promising eco-friendly materials in the world today because it delivers the biodegradability that consumers demand without losing the quality feel they receive from traditional plastic.

“The material provides the best of both worlds, and we look forward to working with Bacardi and incorporating PHA into their iconic packaging.”