Heineken is planning to eliminate plastic rings and shrinkwrapping from its entire portfolio of beer and cider multipack cans over the next two years.

Heineken Cardboard Topper

The plans are expected to remove an estimated 517 tonnes of plastic annually from the company’s supply chain.

Part of a £22 million investment, Heineken will replace its plastic rings with a 100% plastic-free topper, made using sustainably sourced cardboard.

The new packaging is set to minimise the use of raw materials and reduce waste.  The cardboard topper is also 100% recyclable and compostable but still robust and easy to grip, Heineken said.

Rolling out across Heineken, Foster’s and Kronenbourg 1664 multipack cans, the new topper packaging will appear in UK retailers from April 2020.

In addition, the plastic-free solution will rollout across all Heineken brands in multipack cans, including Strongbow, Bulmer’s and John Smith’s, by the end of 2021.

Cindy Tervoort, UK marketing director at Heineken, said: “The effect single-use plastic is having on our planet can’t be ignored. Creating an eco-friendly solution that eliminates plastic while still meeting the demands of our beer and cider drinkers has been a big focus in our business.

“Now, after years in development and huge investment, we’re extremely pleased to announce our recyclable and compostable topper innovation, a significant milestone in our journey to eliminate all single-use plastic.”

The pledge to eliminate plastic rings from its UK canned portfolio is the latest commitment in Heineken’s ‘Brewing a Better World’ strategy, which challenges the company to innovate in a sustainable way.