We love a good packaging debate here at Ernest, and recently there’s been a lot of heated dialogue over cold ones. Beer bottle enthusiasts lean on tradition while aluminum can fans tout the fact that metal provides better protection against light and oxygen. Personally, we just like our beer cold no matter how it’s packaged, but both camps may be in for a surprise soon. Today we’re taking a look at an emerging technology that might make beer packaging more sustainable.
“Green Fiber Glass” is the working brand name for what may be the world’s first wood-based beer bottle. The project is an undertaking of Danish packaging company ecoXpac, who aims at creating a drinking vessel that’s both made from biological materials and is completely biodegradable.
Image courtesy of ecoXpac
Listen up, class, because it’s time for a history lesson on recycling in Denmark. 1978 saw the Scandinavian country pass the world’s first recycling law, and it paved the way for the nation’s very eco-conscious beverage industry. Only certain types of containers are allowed to hold drinks, with nearly 70% of the industry choosing aluminum cans, and the remainder using refillable glass bottles.
The recycling rate for those reusable bottles is nearly 100% (!!!), but ecoXpac is hoping to change the game altogether. Green Fiber bottles use organic wood fibers – which are essentially paper – to achieve that lofty goal, which could signal a massive step toward sustainability for the beer industry. Once you’re done drinking a Green Fiber bottle, simply toss it on the compost heap, cap and all, and let nature do the rest.
Sharan Raj, a lead packaging analyst from market research firm Technavio, explains that “energy consumption during production does not exceed the amount that is being used in the existing product alternatives.” That means these bottles are a net gain for the industry: more sustainability with no trade-offs whatsoever.
Image courtesy of Carlsberg Group
After a 3-year period of research and development, Green Fiber Bottles are set to make their grand debut this year in test markets across Denmark. While that’s a bit of a trek from Ernest’s HQ in sunny California, we’re dearly hoping these beauties make their way stateside, if only to bring wood into the glass vs. aluminum debate. At Ernest, we always put our green on the greenest solution, and we’ve been betting that way for over 70 years.