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Heineken Goes Plastic-Free With Their Cardboard 'Green Grip'

by Bill McCool on 08/19/2020 | 2 Minute Read

Last month, Molson Coors announced their “99% sustainable” six-pack ring, and while the carrier used a little less virgin plastic and was a good enough try, it wasn’t exactly the kind of innovation that could make us a little less reliant on plastic.

That’s when Heineken stepped in and said hold my beer. Or my six-pack ring? Whatever. Either way, they’re going plastic-free.

Heineken announced that they're also getting into the six-pack ring innovation game as well with Green Grip, a cardboard topper that completely does away with plastic. According to the brand, their latest topper and the removal of shrink-wrap and rings will kill off 517 tonnes of plastic packaging per year, which equals out to about 94 million plastic bags.

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The topper will begin to roll out this summer in the UK on Heineken, Foster’s and Kronenbourg 1664 multipacks, and the global brand says they will eliminate the use of all plastic rings by the end of 2021.  

The move did not come without any hiccups, as upending your packaging machinery during a pandemic can present a bit of a challenge. Using virtual technology, the brand navigated the logistical nightmare of training their team on new machinery, using what they dubbed as “smart glasses,” a method allowing their engineers to learn remotely and get their instructions on how to operate the new packaging equipment.

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“This is a game-changer,” said Michael Gillane, marketing director of Heineken UK, in a press release. “For so long, the plastic pack rings on cans of beer and cider have been rightly scrutinized. We have been working on a solution for several years – one that is durable, totally recyclable, and completely plastic-free. Importantly, this is an innovation that can be used at scale on hundreds of millions of cans every year." 

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