Guinness maker to remove plastic from beer packaging

The maker of the iconic stout Guinness has announced it is removing plastic from beer packaging.

Plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap will be removed from multipacks of Diageo's beer products - Guinness, Harp, Rockshore and Smithwick's.

They will be replaced with 100% recyclable and biodegradable cardboard.

The new packaging will be on the shelves in Ireland from August, while the UK and other international markets will follow in 2020.

To achieve this, Diageo is investing €18.5m to reduce the amount of plastic used in its beer packaging.

Its bottling and packaging plant in Northern Ireland will be the first site that will be up and running with the new packs, with the business investing €9.25m in its facility in east Belfast.

The facility packages products which are exported around the world, including to the US, Canada, South Korea and Europe.

Diageo says that currently under 5% of its total packaging is plastic and this change will reduce plastic usage by over 400 tonnes annually.

Oliver Loomes, country director of Diageo Ireland, said: "Managing our environmental impact is important for the planet and the financial sustainability of our business.

"For 260 years Guinness has played a vital role in the communities around us.

"We already have one of the most sustainable breweries in the world at St James's Gate and we are now leading the way in sustainable packaging. This is good news for the environment and for our brand."

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