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Here’s how the beverage industry can cure its climate hangover

World

Here’s how the beverage industry can cure its climate hangover

One firm demonstrates the transition to circular packaging technology to address the impact of overpackaging

Joanna Ossinger

Decades of marketing and overpackaging products means there’s plenty of low-hanging fruit in the effort to make the beverage industry greener. And while many of the efforts to reduce waste have concentrated on recycling the billions of plastic containers, aluminium cans and glass bottles the industry uses each year, one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to cut emissions, energy and consumption of raw materials is to rethink the way drinks are packaged and transported.

Take Singapore-based ecoSpirits, which has introduced a change to the way alcohol is shipped and sold that could eliminate an average of 60% to 90% of the carbon dioxide associated with the traditional packaging and distribution of premium spirits, according to a study performed by Deloitte. Its system has drawn partnerships with iconic hotels such as London’s Savoy and Singapore’s Raffles Hotel as well as global drinks brand Pernod Ricard.

Here’s how it works: instead of putting the liquid into glass bottles and then shipping them around the world, the producer transports the liquid in bulk. Once it reaches the local market, the drinks are decanted into smaller, reusable containers called ecoTotes that are sent to the venue, such as a bar or an hotel. There the drink is put into the bottles that consumers are used to, or dispensed directly into a glass via an integral tap. The empty containers are returned to the processing plant for refilling. EcoSpirits estimates each ecoTote could eliminate more than 1,000 single-use glass bottles over its lifetime...

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