Johnnie Walker Paper-Based Bottle Coming to Unilever & PepsiCo

Lisa Johnston
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Diageo has developed a 100% plastic-free paper-based bottle made entirely from sustainably sourced wood, and will debut the packaging technology early next year with its Johnnie Walker brand.

As part of this, the spirits company, which is No. 46 on the CGT Top 100 Consumer Goods Companies ranking, has teamed with venture management company Pilot Lite to launch Pulpex Limited, a packaging technology company. Pulpex Limited has in turn has established a partner consortium of consumer goods companies that includes Unilever and PepsiCo, with additional partners expected to be announced later in the year.

Pulpex’s technology enables the production of a range of plastic-free, single-mold bottles for consumer goods products, able to house a variety of liquids. The other Pulpex partners each expect to launch their own branded paper bottles based on the technology in 2021.

Richard Slater, Unilever chief R&D officer, said the company will halve its use of virgin plastic, reducing its use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes in the next five years.

“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," he said.

PepsiCo chief sustainability officer Simon Lowden, echoed this sentiment, noting, “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 impact beyond what any organization could achieve alone. We're proud to be a part of it."

The partnership comes on the heels of the news that PepsiCo and Unilever have both extended their capital commitments with the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund (CLIF), intended to develop a more circular economy.