This will replace 80 Million plastic bottles — 3,000 tons of plastic — currently produced by Bacardi across its portfolio of brands every year, the company estimates.
This move comes from a collaboration with Danimer Scientific, a developer and manufacturer of biodegradable products. Petroleum-based plastics used by Bacardi today will be replaced by Danimer Scientific’s Nodax PHA, a biopolymer which derives from the natural oils of plant seeds such as palm, canola and soy. While a regular plastic bottle takes over 400 years to decompose, the new spirits bottle made from Nodax PHA will biodegrade in a wide range of environments — including compost, soil, freshwater and sea water — and after 18 months disappear without leaving behind microplastics, the company says.
Bacardi rum will be the first spirit to appear in the new bottle. The plant-based material will then roll out to replace single-use plastic across the entire Bacardi supply chain and the company’s 200 brands and labels, including Bombay Sapphire gin, Grey Goose vodka, Patrón tequila, Martini vermouth and Dewar’s Scotch whisky.
In addition to the new 100% biopolymer spirits bottle, Bacardi has also created a sustainably sourced paper bottle. By integrating the Nodax PHA polymer, this alternative solution will have “strong environmental credentials while ensuring the quality and taste of the spirit inside a bottle made of paper is as exceptional as one made of glass,” the company says.
This move is also meant to solve the problem of plastic lining in bottle closures — a huge source of plastic usage, industry wide.
“It may sound small,” Jean-Marc Lambert, SVP, Global Operations for Bacardi, “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.”
Today’s announcement by Bacardi represents a 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.
In 2016, Bacardi committed to eliminating all single-use plastic straws in its cocktails. Two years ago, it began a collaboration with the Lonely Whale Foundation to remove single-use plastic straws from bars and restaurants.
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.