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Carlsberg’s Snap Packs are Latest Example of Sustainable Packaging for Beer Industry

Megan Amrich headshotWords by Megan Amrich
Leadership & Transparency
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Danish brewer Carlsberg’s latest packaging innovation is almost invisible, and that’s exactly the point.

Gone are the days of plastic wrap, rings or caps holding together multi-packs of beer. Instead, the cans in Carlsberg’s new Snap Packs are held together by glue.

“You can’t actually see the packaging. It’s almost not there, and that is what is extremely exciting from a sustainability perspective,” said Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, head of sustainability at Carlsberg, in an interview with The Guardian.

The Snap Packs, which will debut in the United Kingdom, were three years in the making. The hardest part of the development process? Making glue dots strong enough to keep the packs together during shipping and on store shelves, while easy enough for consumers to break when they want a single can.

Carlsberg estimates the switch to glued cans will reduce plastic waste by 1,200 metric tons (1,323 tons) a year – the equivalent of 60 million plastic bags.

The World Wildlife Foundation has already given its support to the new packaging design. Said Bo Øksnebjerg, Secretary General in WWF Denmark:

Our wildlife is drowning in plastic – and the problem is unfortunately growing considerable. We therefore need to act now. We need less plastic to end up in nature. That is why we consider it huge progress that Carlsberg is now launching solutions that significantly reduce the amount of plastic in its packaging. With these new solutions, Carlsberg has taken the first big steps on the journey toward a more clean and green future.
To celebrate the release of the new Snap Packs, Carlsberg recruited one of Denmark’s biggest celebrities – The Little Mermaid. Earlier this month, Carlsberg debuted a replica of Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid statue. Only this version was made with, you guessed it, glued-together Snap Pack cans. The rising “tide” on the statue is made of 302 lbs. (137 kg) of plastic, representing the amount of plastic eliminated every hour by the absence of plastic on the new Carlsberg multipacks.

 

The Snap Pack is not the first green packaging initiative from Carlsberg. In September 2016, the brewing company unveiled designs for its Green Fiber Bottle, made from sustainably sourced wood fiber.

Carlsberg’s shift is among other eco-friendly packaging innovations that have been brewing across the international beer industry in recent years:


  • Saltwater Brewery of Delray Beach, Florida, was the first brewery to offer the E6PR (Eco Six Pack Ring). These rings are made from compostable organic materials that are not harmful to wildlife if accidentally ingested. The E6PR has now expanded to four breweries in the U.S., along with breweries in Australia and South Africa.   

  • SAS Green Gen Technologies of France is finalizing development on a bottle made of flax fibers. The lightweight, biodegradable bottle can handle beverages with an alcohol content of up to 60 percent ABV, making it a suitable container for not only beer, but also wine and liquor. Within the next two years, SAS Green Gen Technologies expects to expand to include beverage containers made of bamboo, sugar cane, and hemp.

  • Scottish brewing company Jaw Brew is working with biotech firm Cuantech to create can connectors made from shellfish. Chitin is a substance extracted from prawn shells. If successful, these six-pack connectors would reduce both plastic and aquaculture waste.
Photo credits: Carlsberg

Megan Amrich headshotMegan Amrich

Megan is a freelance writer and editor interested in sharing stories of positive change and resilience. Her blog - Joyful, Brave & Awesome - chronicles her experience as a parent of a special needs child. 
 

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