Absolut has announced they’re rolling out paper-based bottles for their vodka. Tesco, a UK supermarket chain, will sell the 500ml bottles in the Manchester area for a three-month trial this summer. Absolut says the molded bottles are “100% bio-based” and “made from 57% paper with an integrated barrier of recyclable plastic.”
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The bottles are made by Paboco, the paper bottle pioneer that also makes beer brand Carlsberg’s paper bottles. Paboco describes their bottles as being 85% paper, with the HDPE liner making up the other 15%. (We assume they’ve bumped the HDPE liner up to 43% for Absolut’s custom bottle to prevent the hooch from eating through it.)
Despite the plastic contents, Absolut claims that “Customers can simply recycle the packaging as paper through normal household waste.” It is not clear how this works.
Since both glass and paper can be recycled in the UK, you may be wondering why they’re bothering with paper. Well, the paper Absolut bottle is some eight times lighter, the company says, which perhaps reduces shipping costs. It also certainly makes it easier for the consumer to carry, like in a backpack at Glastonbury. “Absolut believes consumers will use the paper bottles,” they write, “in out-of-home occasions such as festivals.”