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Courtesy of Guinness
Environment

Guinness Ditches Plastic Rings on Its Beer


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Plastic is destroying the world’s oceans, killing wildlife, and polluting the air we breathe. That’s why we’re campaigning to reduce single-use plastic around the world, in line with the United Nations' Global Goal 14: life below water. Here’s how you can help. 

Guinness is going green.

Diageo, the brand’s parent company, announced this week that all plastic rings and shrink wrap will be phased out and replaced with 100% biodegradable and recyclable carboard in packs of Guinness, Smithwick's, and Harp.

Take Action: Take the Plastic Pledge: #UnplasticthePlanet

The company says it has committed  £16 million ($21 million) to make the changes, which will roll out in Ireland in August and in Britain and other international markets in summer 2020. Diageo claims the move will remove the equivalent of 40 million plastic bottles from the world, which would stretch from London to Beijing if laid in a row. 

The company has also challenged itself to only use widely recyclable plastic, or a version that is reusable or compostable, by 2025. By 2030, they hope for 100% of their plastic used in their packaging to be recycled. 

Mark Sandys, Diogeo’s global head of beer, Baileys, and Smirnoff, says in a statement to Global Citizen: “For 260 years Guinness has played a vital role in the communities around us. We already have one of the most sustainable breweries in the world at St. James’ Gate and we are now leading the way in sustainable packaging. This is good news for the brand, for our wider beer portfolio, and for the environment.”

Chief Sustainability Officer David Cutter adds that the company has been “working tirelessly to make our packaging more environmentally friendly” and that he’s “thrilled with the outcome.”

Read More: Plastic We Think We've Recycled Could Still End Up in a Landfill. Here's How.

Guinness’ parent company is following in the footsteps of Carlsberg, another European brewer that announced plans to create a “snap pack” to reduce plastic packaging. The company said the move will reduce plastic waste by 1,200 tons annually, which is equivalent to 60 million plastic bags. 

Single-use plastic is a massive problem for the environment, polluting oceans and rivers and killing marine life. Plastics also emit toxic greenhouses gases. Very little of the 300 million tons of plastic created each year are recycled or reused. More than 8 million tons are dumped in the ocean every year. 

Read More: 10 Facts About Plastic Pollution You Absolutely Need to Know

Companies such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Disney have made pledges to reduce their plastic usage, starting with single-use straws, which the city of Seattle has banned entirely. Ikea is phasing out plastic straws, cups, plates, and bags by 2020, and Adidas has said it will only use recycled plastic by 2024. Coca-Cola Australia has also promised to use 10,000 less tons of plastic annually by 2020.