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Heineken brews up a greener way of beer-making

Heineken, the Dutch beer manufacturer, is certainly no stranger to all things green, with those distinctive green bottles, plus the familiar label and red-star logo.

Now, the company is going green in other ways, using green technologies to produce some of the most sustainable beers on the supermarket shelf. Not only that, but the brand now boasts an entire range of beers produced entirely using 100 per cent renewable energy.

The trial is a huge step forward in finding a scalable solution to reducing carbon from glass manufacturing. This is a great example of working together with different suppliers to advance sustainable practices.

– Matt Callan, Brewing and Operations Director, HEINEKEN UK

It’s a refreshing change, and demonstrates how even the largest of brands can reverse course and go about making the products that we love in a more sustainable way.

Biofuel helps create bottles

Biofuel production takes the waste from agricultural products and breaks it down into substances ideal for creating a fuel source which can be less carbon-intensive than conventional ones such as petrol or diesel. The creation of beer bottles is just one application Heineken has for using biofuel at present.

Recently, the brand announced it was taking part in what was described as ground-breaking research into creating mass-produced glass bottles in an entirely brand-new way. Made from 100 per cent recycled glass, these new eco-bottles are going through to a trial phase, with 1.4 million of them being prepared, to be featured in UK supermarkets near you very soon.

The machinery to create these recycled bottles will be sourced from ultra-low carbon biofuels, helping cut the carbon footprint of the standard bottle by up to 90 per cent. Cracking open a beer has never been more environmentally-friendly.

A clear sustainability plan

Not only are the bottles Heineken produces greener than ever before. The packaging the beer it is carried in is also helping keep a lid on carbon emissions. Single-use plastic beer can rings are known to have a damaging impact on the planet, especially our oceans. Remember the story of Peanut the turtle.

Green Grip is Heineken’s answer to this. Just as Saltwater Brewery is producing its smaller-scale disposable packaging for cans of beer, so is Heineken, but its immense size as a brand is significant. Instead of using plastic which can hang around in our oceans and in landfill, Green Grip employs the use of recyclable, compostable rings instead, to package millions of cans moving forward.

The scheme would save as many as 500 tonnes of plastic a year, equivalent to 94 million plastic bags. Green Grip is part of a wider project to limit the use of plastic packaging in the beer industry as a whole, an investment which Heineken claims cost £22 million, with credit for delivery given particularly to the Manchester Brewery.

Whatever the monetary cost, the net benefit of less plastic, greener bottles and more biofuel-powered beer production are all likely to save us all millions more, as well as immeasurable wellness, thanks to a healthier environment.

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