Cost is the most obvious. But there also seem to be other advantages when looking at the full life cycle of the bottles. I was speaking with a packaging professional in the spirits industry last week and he mentioned doing an analysis of the life cycle implications of glass vs plastic bottles for one of their brands.
They figured there would be a very significant reduction in the number of truckloads of bottles into the bottling location if they switched from glass to plastic. The number would go from 1,266 truckloads per year for glass down to 719 truckloads for PET plastic. That’s a reduction of 547 truckloads, or 43% a year (that’s over two truckloads every business day) from their bottle manufacturer to the plant, and that’s only for one of their brands, and for only one part of the production, distribution, retail chain!
Now you may be thinking of just the carbon footprint reduction, but he also suggested that the cost savings, again just on this one brand, could be several million dollars a year, that’s a lot of carbon. Can you imagine the implications for the entire industry.
But I am a designer, and I know there has been a real consumer reluctance to accept spirits packaged in anything but glass, especially premium spirits, which is where much of the new product activity is these days.
It will be interesting to see if the general increase in the use of recyclable plastic containers eventually translates into an increased consumer acceptance of PET plastic for premium spirits. My hunch is, that in spite of the environmental advantages, it may take a while.
The photo above shows McCormick Distilling’s eco friendly 360 vodka in a 100% PCR PET 50 ml bottle. This was featured in a recent post on greenerpackage.com