In early 2021, fans of Scotch Whisky will be enjoying Johnnie Walker out of the world's first-ever 100% plastic-free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood. Diageo, makers of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, and Guinness launched a new partnership with Pilot Lite, a venture management company, to birth Pulpex Limited, a new world-leading sustainable packaging technology company.

According to the company, to ensure that the technology can be used in every area of life, Pulpex Limited has established a partner consortium of world-leading FMCG companies in non-competing categories including Unilever, and PepsiCo, with further partners expected to be announced later in the year. The consortium partners are each expecting to launch their own branded paper bottles, based on Pulpex Limited's design and technology, also in 2021. 

Simon Lowden, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo, said: "Innovative solutions and partnerships are critical to driving meaningful progress toward a circular economy. The Pulpex consortium is well-positioned to deliver sustainable packaging at scale and across industries, having an impact beyond what any organization could achieve alone. We're proud to be a part of it." 

Pulpex Limited has developed a 'first-of-its-kind' scalable paper-based bottle designed and developed to be 100% plastic-free and expected to be fully recyclable. The bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards and will be fully recyclable in standard waste streams.  The technology will allow brands to rethink their packaging designs, or move existing designs into paper, whilst not compromising on the existing quality of the product. 

"We're proud to have created this world first. We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging and this bottle has the potential to be truly ground-breaking," said Ewan Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer, Diageo PLC. "It feels fitting that we should launch it with Johnnie Walker, a brand that has often led the way in innovation throughout its 200 years existence."

Pulpex Limited's technology allows it to produce a variety of plastic-free, single mold bottles that can be used across a range of consumer goods. The packaging has been designed to contain a variety of liquid products and will form part of Diageo's commitment towards Goal 12 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: 'Responsible Consumption and Production'. 

"We believe in tackling plastic waste through innovation and collaboration. We are going to halve our use of virgin plastic at Unilever, reducing our use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes in the next five years," informed Richard Slater, Chief R&D Officer, Unilever. "Joining forces to develop and test paper bottles is an incredibly exciting step forward, and we're delighted to be working together to tackle one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time."

Sandy Westwater, Director, Pilot Lite said, "We're thrilled to be working with global brand leaders in this consortium. By working together, we can use the collective power of the brands to help minimize the environmental footprint of packaging by changing manufacturing and consumer behaviors."