Spirits brand Bacardi plans to put 100% biodegradable bottles on retail shelves by 2023 — one of the latest signs of how retail is getting more sustainable.
According to Bacardi, the the new bottles will replace 80 million plastic containers – 3,000 tons of plastic – currently produced by Bacardi across its portfolio of brands every year.
Bacardi is making the switch via a collaboration with Danimer Scientific, a Bainbridge, Georgia-based developer and manufacturer of biodegradable products. Petroleum-based plastics currently used by Bacardi will be replaced by Danimer Scientific’s Nodax PHA, a biopolymer that derives from the natural oils of plant seeds such as palm, canola and soy.
While a regular plastic bottle takes more than 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 harmful microplastics, Bacardi said.
Bacardi 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 Hamilton, Bermuda-based company’s 200 brands and labels.
“Over our 158-year history, Bacardi has always believed in respecting the world’s natural resources and acting responsibly, from the sustainable sourcing of our sugarcane to the water and energy used to make our rum,” said Ned Duggan, SVP, Bacardi rum. “We’re now excited to be pioneering this new biopolymer technology for the benefit of all Bacardi brands and the entire spirits industry.”
As well as the new 100% biopolymer spirits bottle, Bacardi is also creating a sustainably sourced paper bottle. By integrating the Nodax PHA polymer, this alternative solution will have equally strong environmental credentials while ensuring that the quality and taste of the spirit inside a bottle made of paper is as exceptional as one made of glass, Bacardi said.
All kinds of retail operations are moving toward more sustainability.
Earlier in October, for instance, St. Louis-based Panera Bread began touting itself as the first national restaurant company to label climate-friendly "Cool Food Meals" on its menu. In collaboration with the Washington, D.C.-based World Resources Institute (WRI), Panera is labeling as climate-friendly more than half of its entrees, including the Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt, 10 Vegetable Soup, Fuji Apple Chicken Salad and Broccoli Cheddar Soup.