Aluminum, with its lightweight composition and recycling qualities, has been the brewer’s metal of choice for decades. But aluminum may soon give way to another type of packaging that is even more eco- friendly.
The new packaging idea is a biodegradable wood fiber beverage bottle and it has already received a boost from Denmark’s Carlsberg Brewing. Partnering with the package supplier ecoXpac, Carlsberg is counting on this new packaging to replace traditional materials and become the new face of beer containers in the future. Carlsberg announced a three- year deal with ecoXpac at the World Economic Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland earlier this year to further develop the new concept. Joining with Carlsberg and ecoXpac will be the Green Fiber Bottle initiative, Innovation Fund Denmark and the Technical University of Denmark.
What will set this new packaging apart from existing cans and bottles? For one, the wood fiber bottle will be completely, 100% biodegradable and that includes its sealing mechanism. This way, everything about the bottle will be earth- friendly, making it a better option than recycling aluminum cans, at least from an environmental perspective.
The plan is to use this new bottle for packaging not just beer, but also soft drinks and other beverages. The bottle will not be clear. It will have enough shade to protective against light and harmful UV rays, which are natural enemies of beer.
Further testing and refinement will be necessary before this new packaging makes it to market. But don’t be surprised one day if you pop open a cold one and discard the remains in a compost pile or landfill rather than a recycle bin. This new technology has great potential and as long as the manufacturer can ensure that it’s safe and doesn’t adversely affect the flavor of the beverage within, it has an excellent chance to replace aluminum and glass as the brewer’s package of choice.