Carlsberg is ditching the plastic can holder on packs of beer and replacing it with glue to hold the cans together, saving 1,200 tonnes of plastic a year.
After a three-year development process, which involved testing more than 4,000 different adhesive formulations, it found that adding dots of glue bonding its new “Snap Packs” were strong enough to withstand the journey from shelf to home and sufficiently brittle to break when twisted.
Plastic can holders are controversial not only because they are plastic, but because they often endanger wildlife including ducks, birds, and sea life who can become trapped in them.
The technology has the support of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which has hailed it as a “big step” in efforts to tackle the worsening global scourge of plastic pollution.
“It’s glued together so you can’t actually see the packaging. It’s almost not there, and that is what is extremely exciting from a sustainability perspective,” head of sustainability at Carlsberg, Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, told the Press Association.
“Our wildlife is drowning in plastic – and the problem is unfortunately growing considerably,” Bo Oksnebjerg, secretary-general of WWF Denmark, added. “We therefore need to act now. We need less plastic to end up in nature. That is why we consider it huge progress that Carlsberg is now launching solutions that significantly reduce the amount of plastic in its packaging.”
Correction: This article originally described the plastic can holder as a “ring pull”. This has been amended.