Bacardi has announced a new collaboration with Danimer Scientific that will lead to the replacement of the spirits bottles across its portfolio of brands with 100% biobased bottles made from PHA.
Today, Bacardi produces some 80 million bottles made from fossil-based plastics every year, the company said. These will be eliminated, saving an annual 3,000 tons of plastic that will be replaced by Danimer Scientific’s Nodax PHA, a 100% renewably-sourced biosynthesised polyester.
According to Bacardi, unlike a regular plastic bottle, which will take over 400 years to decompose, the new PHA spirits bottle will biodegrade in a wide range of environments, including compost, soil, freshwater and sea water. It will disappear after 18 months leaving no microplastic traces behind.
BACARDÍ rum will be the first spirit to appear in the new bottle, before the plant-based material is rolled out to replace single-use plastic across the entire Bacardi supply chain and the company’s 200 brands and labels.
Jean-Marc Lambert, senior vice president of global operations at Bacardi, said: “When we set ourselves the goal of being 100% plastic-free by 2030, we knew that it would take ground-breaking advances in packaging design to make it achievable, and that’s exactly what’s happening through our partnership with Danimer.”
As well as the new 100% biopolymer spirits bottle, Bacardi is also creating a sustainably sourced paper bottle in which the Nodax PHA polymer will be incorporated.
The Bacardi Packaging Development team is also hoping the material will help solve one of the beverage industry’s longest-standing plastic problems – the plastic lining of bottle closures.
“It may sound small,” said Lambert, “but add that up across every bottle produced globally and we’re talking many tons of plastic every day. Once we’ve fixed the problem, we’ll be open sourcing the solution for the entire industry to use. This isn’t about competitive advantage it’s about doing the right thing for the planet.”
The announcement by Bacardi represents a major step towards the company achieving its goal of being 100% plastic-free in the next 10 years. As well as launching the new biopolymer bottle in 2023, the company has also committed to removing all its non-essential, single-use plastic, including all plastic gift box materials and plastic point-of-sale materials, in the next three years.
Nodax PHA was verified as a biodegradable alternative to petrochemical plastics by the University of Georgia (UGA) and the UGA New Materials Institute in a 2018 study. The material has earned seven TUV AUSTRIA certifications and statements of industrial and home compostability, is biodegradable in anaerobic, soil, fresh water and marine environments and is 100% bio-based. Nodax PHA is currently used for a wide range of applications, including thermoformed trays, drinking straws, flexible and multi-layer film packaging, coatings, disposable cutlery, and more.