Tennent's to remove all plastic from lager packs for first time in decades

Tennent’s is to remove all plastic packaging from its packs of cans for the first time in more than 40 years after a major investment in new machinery.

Work at the brewery has commenced and is expected to complete in the spring, when Tennent’s will be able to produce up to 120,000 cans per hour, packaged in fully recyclable cardboard.

The £7 million has been used to buy packaging equipment at the brand’s vast Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow, putting the brewer well on its way to eradicating single use plastic from consumer packaging.

The investment, which forms part of a series of “Because Life is Bigger than Beer” initiatives, will remove 150 tonnes of plastic from Tennent’s lager can packs by 2022, including more than 100 million plastic rings.

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Work at the brewery site has commenced and is expected to complete in the spring, when Tennent’s will be able to produce up to 120,000 cans per hour, packaged in fully recyclable cardboard.

Martin Doogan, group engineering manager at C&C Group, the Irish drinks company that owns Tennent’s. Picture: Paul Chappells

Martin Doogan, group engineering manager at C&C Group, the Irish drinks company that owns Tennent’s, said: “Sustainability is at the core of our business and we will always look for ways to innovate and minimise our impact on the environment to play our part in tackling the climate crisis.

“Today’s announcement is the latest step as we work towards our 2022 goal of eliminating single use plastic from our consumer packaging and our ongoing commitment to environmental best practice in everything we do.

“As part of our commitments around plastics, we continue to be the only brewer who is a member of the UK Plastics Pact, which guides our initiatives and sets stringent additional targets on plastic packaging, waste and recyclates.

“Together with our new carbon recapture facility and the anaerobic digestion plant, we are well on our way to achieving our pledge to make Wellpark net carbon zero.”

Terry A’Hearn, chief executive at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), said: “Across the world, corporates, communities and consumers are clear on the need for urgent climate action.

“In Scotland, iconic brands like Tennent’s are transforming their business models to grasp this climate of opportunity and show bold leadership towards one planet prosperity.

“In addition to a series of sustainability investments at Wellpark Brewery, as Scotland’s environment protection agency, we warmly welcome this latest boost to circularity as the eyes of the world will be on Glasgow at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).”

Operational since October 2019, the Tennent’s anaerobic digestion plant allows for on-site treatment of wastewater generated by the brewing process. This improves the quality of wastewater discharged from Wellpark into the water treatment plant at Dalmarnock in Glasgow.

The plant also generates bio gas which provides some of the energy used to heat the brewery rather than pulling power from the national grid.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, added: “Currently, a lot of energy goes into making products only for them to be thrown out after just one use. This not only drives up emissions but also affects other environmental factors, such as water scarcity and land use.

“With COP26 coming up later this year, Scottish businesses, like Tennent’s, can be champions for a greener, fairer economy by improving the circularity of their products.”

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