Guinness removes plastic packaging from its beer packs

Guinness removes plastic packaging from its beer packs

April 16, 2019
Press Release: Diageo

Drinks giant Diageo has announced that it is removing plastic from multipacks of its Irish stout brand Guinness

Plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap will be removed from multipacks of Diageo beer brands including Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s.

The £16million investment to reduce the amount of plastics used in its beer packaging will see the introduction of 100% recyclable and biodegradable cardboard to replace plastic and a reduction of plastic waste that is the equivalent of removing 40 million 50cl plastic bottles from the world which, if laid out in a row, would reach from London to Beijing (8,136km).

The new sustainable beer packs will be on shelves in Ireland from August 2019 and from Summer 2020 in Great Britain and other international markets. Individual cans are fully recyclable, including the widget that is contained inside cans of Draught Guinness.

“For 260 years, Guinness has played a vital role in the communities around us,” said Mark Sandys, global head of Beer, Baileys and Smirnoff. “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 brand, for our wider beer portfolio and for the environment.”

“Great packaging is essential for our products,” added David Cutter, chief sustainability officer and president, Global Supply & Procurement. “Consumers expect our packs to look beautiful, be functional and sustainable. I am proud to announce this investment, through which we have been able to combine all three. We have been working tirelessly to make our packaging more environmentally friendly and I’m thrilled with this outcome for Guinness and our other global beer brands.”

Currently, under 5% of Diageo’s total packaging around the world is plastic and in 2018 the company announced new plastics targets from 2025 and beyond. These included:

  • Ensure 100% of its plastic use is designed to be widely recyclable (or reusable/compostable), using plastics that allow for increased consumer recycling rates;
  • Achieve 40% average recycled content in its plastic bottles – and 100% by 2030;
  • Continue to invest in circular economy opportunities and other sustainable packaging breakthroughs;
  • Accelerate its support for recycling by increasing collaboration, particularly where we have influence, and engaging with Governments, peers and consumers to facilitate improved recycling.

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019 will take place from Thursday 27 June to Friday 28 June, at the Kap Europa, Frankfurt Messe, Frankfurt, Germany. To register for this highly focused and solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email

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