Australian brewer Carlton & United Breweries is touting the fact it is scrapping plastic rings on its six-pack beer cans.
But its major opposition brewer, Lion, told Plastics News it started phasing out plastic rings on beer packaging 10 years ago and the last was removed from Lion-owned products in Australia three years ago.
Carlton & United, registered as CUB Pty. Ltd., has its main brewery at Abbotsford, a suburb of Melbourne. It owns the historic Cascade Brewery in Hobart, Tasmania, which first brewed beer in 1824; and a brewery at Yatala, in Queensland. CUB is owned by Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV.
CUB CEO Peter Filipovic said the phase out is occurring at the Abbotsford brewery and follows discontinued use of plastic six-pack rings, also called yokes, at the Cascade Brewery last year.
A CUB statement said 25 million six-pack rings will no longer "enter the environment each year."
CUB is replacing the rings with cardboard packaging. Filipovoc said: "We've sourced and tested the new packaging, installed new equipment, and now the new packaging is running off the canning line at Abbotsford."
He said it may take some months for old stock to be sold from liquor stores.
Filipovic said CUB is also replacing the 137 metric tons of plastic shrink wrap used each year on "slabs of cans" with cardboard packaging. A slab is colloquial Australian for 24 squat bottles, known as 'stubbies,' or 24 cans of beer sold packaged together.
Sydney-based Lion Pty. Ltd. is a subsidiary of Japanese brewer, Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd. It owns eight breweries around Australia.
Communications Manager Elizabeth Bold told Plastics News that Lion had invested in improved packaging for more than 20 years, reducing litter and increasing recycling of bottles, cans and liquid paperboard containers.
"However, we recognize there is always more we can do. Lion is committed to ensuring 100 percent of consumer packaging is recyclable by 2025 and our packaging is made from at least 50 percent recycled content in the same time frame," she said.
CUB's statement said: "Last year we made a commitment that 100 percent of our products will be in packaging that is returnable or made from majority-recycled content by 2025."