Probably the best ____ in the world: Upcycling and Lightweighting

Danish brewing multinational Carlsberg has embarked on a major private sector initiative, involving many of its main suppliers, on the upcycling of beer cans, bottles and other packaging.

  • Upcycling is the conversion of used materials into materials of equivalent or better quality.

The Carlsberg initiative will address the need for greater resource efficiency and reuse in its packaging by seeking Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) certification for its products.

  • C2C is the continual improvement programme under which products are manufactured according to the principles that waste should always be an input to a new product cycle, and that products should be made using renewable energy.

One issue for the company and its suppliers is to scrutinise Carlsberg beer bottles and cans and identify any chemicals or additives that could make the packaging hard to recycle, or that would reduce its quality and value.  This assessment will be part of the C2C product analysis.  To give an idea of scale of demand for bottles and cans, Carlsberg sells 120 million hectolitres of beer per year.

“Probably the best Upcycling in the World” – to borrow a by-line

Another trend is the “lightweighting” of packaging – reducing to a minimum the amount of raw material in a bottle or can. 

  • The benefits of lightweighting are felt not only in terms of reduced materials use, but also through reduced emissions and fuel consumption related to the transporting of lighter products.

Coca Cola in early 2014 reduced the weight of its 330 millilitre glass Coca-Cola bottle to 190 grammes.  In 2005, the bottle weighed 240 grammes, meaning that Coca Cola has been able to reduce glass consumption by more than a fifth without sacrificing the bottle’s quality and durability.

“So have a Coke and a Smile”