Guinness is going green in bid to cut plastic use
The black stuff is set to 'go green' after the parent company of Guinness announced plastic will be removed from product packaging.
Biodegradable cardboard will replace the traditional plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap on multi-packs of Diageo's beer products, with £16m being invested in the environmentally friendly switch.
The new packaging for best-selling brands Guinness, Harp, Rockshore and Smithwick's is expected to be on shelves across the Republic by August this year, with the UK and international markets following in 2020.
Diageo's bottling and packaging plant in Northern Ireland will be the first site up and running with the new packs, with the business investing £8m in its facility in east Belfast.
Oliver Loomes, country director of Diageo Ireland, said: "Managing our environmental impact is important for the planet and the financial sustainability of our business.
"This is good news for the environment and for our brand."
David Cutter, Diageo's chief sustainability officer, said consumers expect its packs "to look beautiful, be functional, and sustainable".
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Currently less than 5% of Diageo's total packaging is plastic and this change will reduce its plastic usage by over 400 tonnes annually.
"This is the equivalent of removing 40m 50cl plastic bottles from the world, which, if laid out in a row, would reach from London to Beijing (8,136km)," Mr Cutter said.
The multi-can packs will be replaced by cardboard, which are sustainably sourced, recyclable and fully biodegradable. Individual cans are fully recyclable, including the widget inside cans of Draught Guinness.
Lucie Milburn, operations director at Diageo's Beer packaging site in Belfast, said:"This latest investment in sustainable packaging is a reflection of the innovation and expertise of our team in Belfast and Diageo's commitment to invest in the site, which makes a valuable contribution to the Northern Ireland economy."