The creation of a positive impact needs to be high on the agenda for the alcoholic industry.
In the past few years the increasing number of initiatives with a positive impact have started to push the alcohol industry in the right direction, but there is still a lot to do.
Packaging is an important area of innovation in the alcoholic beverage industry.
It has a huge environmental impacts and represent significant costs in the current supply system.
Packaging initiatives should be in line with circular economy principles in order to create products that can be used for a longer period of time, with materials that can be reused. In this context, packaging design solutions should be based on recyclable or reusable designs, biological aspects such as biodegradability, and reduction initiatives such as lower weight designs.
In the alcoholic beverage industry, glass is the most widely used material.
This a really effective material due to (1) its neutral capacity to ensure the optimal preservation of taste, (2) it is not reactive and acts as a natural barrier to preserve product quality,(3) it is easy to clean and sterilize in order to be reused, (4) it is made from natural ingredients, (5) it has the ability to be recycled infinitely. Generally speaking, glass bottles dominate alcoholic beverage primary packaging.
Due to its production procedures, which require a melting process, the glass industry is an energy intensive sector and also produces large quantities of greenhouse gases, especially CO2.
Historically, there has a been a direct association between product quality and preservation, and high weight glass bottles, particularly in the alcoholic beverage industry. Innovative efforts in the glassware industry have been focusing on reducing the thickness and weight of the glass. It has been proven that lighter glass containers can guarantee a high level of product stability and protection while requiring lower melting temperatures and less raw materials. This creates a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and offers important environmental advantages. Furthermore, the risk of breakage and the high weight of full bottles, have a negative effect on the transport aspect. A reduction in the weight and thickness would offer an important reduction in transport costs because a lighter container would allow better use of the space in the transport vehicle and minimize the use of natural resources, as well as lessening transportation related environmental impacts.
Taking into account the positive effects of these initiatives, the alcoholic beverage industry, in cooperation with suppliers and packaging experts, should continue to focus their innovative efforts on circular economy principles that minimize the cost and environmental impacts of packaging materials.