A £22 million revamp of three major UK breweries has been announced by Heineken as part of plans to cut plastic waste.
The beer giant will introduce new production lines at Hereford, Manchester and Tadcaster, replacing plastic multipack rings and shrink wrapping with a new type of holder made from recyclable cardboard.
The biggest chunk of the investment, £15m, will go to the Manchester branch, where trial runs will begin before the end of the year. Hereford will get £4m, and Tadcaster will get £3m.
The move is due to happen by the end of 2021, and is set to reduce the amount of plastic waste the company produces each year by 517 tonnes: approximately the equivalent of 94 million plastic bags.
Senior technician Almalka Woodall, who will be overseeing the installation of the new machinery at the Hereford site commented-“It’s fantastic – people will be really excited by it.
“We all want to improve the environment, and our environmental footprint on the world. And plastics is a huge issue. It means a lot to people who work here – they’re really excited.
“They’ve been working with plastic for a really long time and we’ve seen lots of environmental improvements on site so this is just another step towards it.”
Other drinks firms have already taken the pledge to eradicate use of plastic – Carlsberg announcing it was replacing plastic rings with glue dots in September 2018, and Guinness owner Diego announced the move to cardboard in April.
Heineken said that less than 3% of the company’s overall packaging was plastic, but the new multipack idea would reduce the figure to below 2% once it hits the shelves. The company said it wants to reduce total business carbon emissions to 80% by 2030.
Production will begin in April 2020 on the beer brands, with cider following suit before the end of the year.
Photo from Heineken