Distiller Diageo has said it has collaborated in a successful pilot project to pioneer "the lowest carbon footprint glass bottles ever produced for a Scotch whisky brand".

The collaboration with glass manufacturer Encirc and leading industry research and technology body Glass Futures, used waste-based biofuel-powered furnaces to reduce the carbon footprint of the bottle-making process by up to 90%

For the purposes of the trial Diageo used its Black & White Scotch whisky brand – famous for its label featuring a West Highland terrier and a Scotty dog, and which is a popular and growing whisky in key global export markets.

The trial produced 173,000 Black & White bottles, also using 100% recycled glass, making the batch the "most environmentally-friendly ever produced for a Scotch whisky brand".

Further work now needs to be done to develop and scale the trial for future production, but it represents a significant step forward in Diageo’s drive to transform the sustainability of its grain-to-glass supply chain, it said.

Diageo also said has supported Glass Futures from concept and following the success of the trial has agreed a 10-year partnership to accelerate collaboration and innovation in the glass industry.

John Aird, Senior Packaging Technologist at Diageo, who led the project for the company, said: “We are committed to creating a sustainable future for our business and that includes looking for innovative new ways to make our bottles and packaging that reduces the carbon footprint of our products.

HeraldScotland: The trial produced 173,000 Black & White bottlesThe trial produced 173,000 Black & White bottles

“This trial is just a first step in the journey to decarbonise this aspect of our supply chain and we still have a long way to go, but we are delighted with the results of the collaboration and the platform it creates for future innovation.

“We see Glass Futures as a great opportunity to develop new technology and to help deliver net zero glass manufacturing and we are delighted to support them in that mission.”

Adrian Curry, Managing Director at Encirc, said: “This is a truly momentous occasion for glass. We have set the standard globally with this trial and now the glass industry needs to work towards realising what we’ve proved is possible. We now know that glass can be the most sustainable of all packaging types and must all work together to ensure that happens.”

Aston Fuller, General Manager of Glass Futures, said: “The trial is delivering fantastic results for the manufacturer, end user and consumer. Glass is a fully recyclable and highly sustainable product, and through this trial with Encirc we are seeing the dawn of Net-Zero technologies with this full-scale trial of a new alternative low-carbon fuel.”

The project is part of the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Energy Innovation Programme, within which Glass Futures is leading a £7.1m initiative to explore the most effective routes to switching glass manufacturing to low carbon fuels.

Diageo’s support for Glass Futures is part of its commitment to transforming packaging sustainability. Diageo recently announced its Society 2030: Spirit of Progress sustainability plan for a decade of action to tackle climate change, which includes ambitious environmental goals such as being net zero emissions from all direct operations by 2030.

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