Carlsberg has announced it has made big steps with its plans to create the world’s first ‘paper’ beer bottle, made from sustainably-sourced wood fibres that are both 100% bio-based and fully recyclable.

The brewer has unveiled two new research prototypes of its Green Fibre Bottle, which are the first ‘paper bottles’ to contain beer. The company said it has been joined by other leading global companies who are united in their vision of developing sustainable packaging through the advancement of paper bottle technology.

The developments are a continuation of Carlsberg’s sustainable packaging innovation journey and a key part of its sustainability programme Together Towards Zero, including its commitment to Zero carbon emissions at its breweries and a 30% reduction in its full value chain footprint by 2030.

The two prototypes are made from wood fibre and they have an inner barrier to contain beer. One uses a thin recycled PET polymer film barrier and the other is a 100% bio-based PEF polymer film barrier. The two will be used to test the barrier technology as Carlsberg seeks a solution to achieve its ultimate ambition of a 100% bio-based bottle without polymers.

Myriam Shingleton, vice president group development at Carlsberg Group, said: “We continue to innovate across all our packaging formats, and we are pleased with the progress we’ve made on the Green Fibre Bottle so far. While we are not completely there yet, the two prototypes are an important step towards realising our ultimate ambition of bringing this breakthrough to market. Innovation takes time and we will continue to collaborate with leading experts in order to overcome remaining technical challenges, just as we did with our plastic-reducing Snap Pack.”

The project started in 2015 with Carlsberg working alongside innovation experts ecoxpac, packaging company BillerudKorsnas, and post-doctural researchers from the Danish Technical University, supported by Innovation Fund Denmark. These combined efforts have resulted in the emergence of Paboco, the Paper Bottle Company, a joint venture between BillerudKorsnas and bottle manufacturing specialist Alpla.

Carlsberg will now be joined by the Coca-Cola Company, the Absolut Company and L’Oreal in a paper bottle community, launched this month by Paboco.

Shingleton said: “The work with our partners since 2015 on the Green Fibre Bottle illustrates that this kind of innovation can happen when we work together. We’re delighted that other like-minded companies have now joined us as part of Paboco’s paper bottle community. Partnerships such as these, ones that are united by a desire to create sustainable innovations, are the best way to bring about real change.”