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Heineken is ditching single-use plastic rings and shrink wrap from millions of multipack cans and replacing them with eco-friendly cardboard.

The Dutch company has invested £22m in new technology and production facilities at its UK sites that will enable it to start rolling out the changes across its popular brands , which include Heineken and Foster’s, from April 2020.

The can “toppers” are made from recyclable cardboard and are strong enough to carry the weight of a multipack. Their adoption by Heineken in the UK will lead to 517 tonnes of plastic being removed from the packaging of its brands by the end of 2021.

The changes will be rolled out first across Heineken, Foster’s and Kronenbourg 1664, then all its other brands in multipack cans, such as Strongbow, Bulmer’s, Red Stripe and John Smith’s, by the end of 2021.

Plastic pack rings, known in the industry as hi-cones or yokes, are used to hold together multipacks of canned drinks, particularly beer. A standard packaging device for more than 50 years, they have contributed to growing plastic pollution in the oceans and pose a major threat to marine life.

The UK is the first of the brewer’s 190 world markets to introduce the new packaging. In the UK it produces 530m cans across all its brands every year, of which Foster’s accounts for 150m and Heineken 39.5m. Read more

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