Next century Spirits


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July 12, 2022

Plastic-Free July is an annual global initiative to raise awareness of the plastics crisis. The goal is to encourage businesses and consumers to reduce single-use plastics and find more sustainable alternatives.

The Plastic-Free movement has inspired more than 100 million participants in 190 countries across the planet. For individuals, it can be as simple as saying no to that plastic straw or changing how they do their grocery shopping. But, for businesses, it can mean changing packaging materials, shipping materials, and items used during manufacturing. So, we’re taking a closer look at what players in the beverage industry can do to make a positive Plastic-Free July.

Plastic-Free Packaging Solutions

Rigid plastic makes up 45% of the beverage industry’s packaging materials, and less than a quarter is recycled. But, beverage manufacturers can improve the sustainability of their products in several ways:

  1. Use less plastic – For example, bottles with thinner side walls. The downside: these bottles don’t handle as easily in manufacturing processes.
  2. Switch from virgin plastic to rPET (recycled plastic) – It can dramatically reduce the amount of plastic waste created. However, manufacturers are struggling with supply chain consistency because of slow recycling rates in the US.
  3. Use non-plastic materials such as glass, aluminum, paperboard, or bio-polymers
  4. Returnable containers – As companies strive to reduce their carbon footprint and the cost of glass bottles increases, the circular economy of returnable glass bottles shows much promise. The downside: reverse logistics are costly.

Solutions to Reduce Plastic Use in Shipping

Cost is a big concern for manufacturers focusing on change.

Paper-based packaging is affordable, renewable, easy to source, and fully recyclable. It can replace plastic packaging in several ways – cardboard containers, crinkle-cut paper as packaging filler, and tissue paper to protect individual products.

Two more ways to reduce plastic in shipping beverages:

  1. Plastic-free packaging tape when sealing boxes
  2. Compostable rather than plasticized stickers

Reduce Plastic Consumption in Distilleries and Factories

Consumer awareness of the environmental impact of single-use plastic products is at an all-time high. More than 50% of Americans are willing to pay more for a more sustainable offering.

Now is the time to evaluate your company’s plastic use. Stay ahead of the curve with changes throughout the production and distribution process.

  • Decant barrel or tank samples into re-usable glass bottles rather than single-use PET bottles.
  • Where possible, choose supplies shipped in plastic-free packaging.
  • Reduce the amount of packaging used by opting for concentrated or refillable versions of your cleaning materials.

Think Outside the Box

As a company, it is not just about what you do on the inside that counts. What you do for your community will also make a difference in the world’s plastic crisis.

Help abate plastic pollution by joining Earth Day practices such as the Great Global Cleanup®. Get your team together for an uplifting teambuilding activity. Select a beach or riverside area in your community and spend a day working together to clear plastics and other pollutants.

Make a Positive Impact: Lower Your Plastic Footprint This July

Less than 10% of plastics ever produced have been recycled. Many plastics are not recyclable, or it’s too costly.

Cleanups, recycling, and upcycling are efficient ways to minimize plastic pollution. However, the greatest impact is made by reducing plastic production in the first place. This means that companies should prioritize innovating plastic-free packaging and manufacturing solutions.

Follow us on Instagram and show us how you will try to make a difference this Plastic-Free July.