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AB InBev cuts emissions through new lightweight beer bottle design

The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), has unveiled new lightweight beer bottles that have a reduced carbon footprint of 17% compared to its other bottle types, with plans in place to roll them out across Europe.

AB InBev is aiming to reduce value chain emissions by 25% by 2025

AB InBev is aiming to reduce value chain emissions by 25% by 2025

AB InBev, which owns brands such as Budweiser and Corona, has developed new lightweight longneck beer bottles that are 30g lighter than other bottle variants. As such, emissions per bottle have been measured at 17% lower. The brewer states that if these bottles were rolled out across all glass production for AB InBev brands in Europe, emissions savings would be the equivalent of taking 62,000 cars off the road each year.

The brewer is attempting to reduce emissions associated with packaging, which accounts for 50% of its product carbon footprint. More broadly, AB InBev is aiming to reduce value chain emissions by 25% by 2025.

“Lightweighting our bottles has been a priority for many years at AB InBev and this new, lighter bottle is an important environmental and technological breakthrough, allowing us to decrease the carbon footprint of the glass bottle,” the company’s global director of packaging technology development Frederik De Graaf said.

“This success is the fruit of intensive collaboration with our external glass partners, having shared knowledge and worked together on new glass coatings, new glass mold coatings and state-of-the-art converting to strengthen the glass.”

The new bottles have been developed at the brewer’s Global Innovation and Technology R&D Centre, GITEC in Leuven, Belgium. The company had to overcome issues relating to the strength of the bottles and how filling lines at high speed could damage the lightweight bottles.

AB InBev is now exploring a European rollout of the bottles. Currently, the new packaging will act as one-way bottles, and won’t yet be introduced in markets where the brewer has returnable bottles, that are reused several times, on offer. The brewer is now working on the development of lightweighting the returnable bottles.

AB InBev is committed to having 100% of its products in packaging that is returnable or from a majority of recycled content by 2025.

Budweiser G7

In related news, AB InBev-owned Budweiser has agreed to donate renewable electricity certificates to ensure that the G7 Summit taking place in Cornwall this week is powered by green energy.

In 2018, Budweiser signed what was at the time the UK’s largest unsubsidised solar power purchase agreement. It led to the creation of two solar farms that would produce enough renewables to power operations at its two major UK breweries in Magor, South Wales and Samlesbury, Lancashire.

To mark the G7 summit, Budweiser will provide renewable energy certificates amounting to almost five million kWh.

Budweiser’s UK&I president Paula Lindenberg said: “World Environment Day and the G7 Summit are all about collaboration to address urgent environmental issues affecting the whole planet. To show our support to the G7 leaders and delegates for their actions to tackle climate change, we’re delighted to offset almost five million kWh with green electricity.

“We’ve worked hard to be able to be in a position to not only power all our UK brewing operations with 100% renewable electricity, but now to produce a surplus for the nation.”

Matt Mace

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