Addressing the growing concern for the long-term effects of plastic materials in nature, Carlsberg is working on a new type of beer bottle that is cast from wood fibre, biodegradable, and 100 percent sustainable.
We have already developed plastic materials that do not pollute during incineration – however more often than not, these materials find their way to different parts of nature where the time span for decomposition is lengthy. There is also growing concern for the long-term effect of micro plastic ending up in oceans after the actual plastic material has decayed and been absorbed in the ecosystem.
Because of the many environmental challenges related to plastic, the Innovation Fund invested roughly DKK 15 million in a development project in 2015 where Carlsberg, the Danish packaging company EcoXpac, and Technical University of Denmark (DTU) collaborated in order to develop a beer bottle made of sustainably sourced wood fibre.
In cooperation with DTU, EcoXpac has developed new methods for casting. In one step, they cast entire bottles from wood fibre – making the process fast, cheap and energy-efficient compared to existing casting processes. The interior coating is also biodegradable and, thus, in accordance with the demands from the food industry.
– The new bottle is a milestone in the project, and, with a new physical prototype, the point of communicating the fiber bottle to consumers gets easier. The prototype also shows how we can use innovation and design to develop products for a better future, says the Sustainabbility Director at Carlsberg, Simon Boas Hoffmeyer in a press release.
The ambition is to take the bottle’s fibres from responsibly driven locations where they replant trees at the same rate as they harvest. If the bottle ends out in nature, it will decompose without harming the environment. In addition, the objective for the bottle is for it to have a waste treatment system similar to the one that presently exists.
Still, the companies need to overcome additional technical challenges in order for the Green Fiber Bottle to reach the goal of 100 percent sustainable innovation. They expect the bottle to be ready for testing as early as 2018.