Encirc and Diageo, a beer and spirits producer, will partner to create the world’s first net zero glass bottles at scale by 2030.

Encirc, a Vidrala company, plans to build a new ultra-low carbon hybrid glass furnace at its Elton plant, Cheshire, UK to begin glass production in 2027.

The furnace will:

  • Reduce carbon emissions by 90%, with an energy mix of green electricity and low carbon hydrogen. It is expected that carbon capture technology will capture the remaining carbon emissions by 2030.
  • Be powered by zero carbon electricity and hydrogen, from the Vertex (HyNet) plant in Cheshire.
  • Be fully operational by 2027.
  • Produce up to 200 million Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Gordon’s and Tanqueray bottles annually by 2030.

The hydrogen used to power the new furnace will come from Vertex Hydrogen, a partner of the government-backed HyNet North West cluster – the UK’s leading industrial decarbonisation project.

Glass Futures, based in St Helens, is also playing a key role in supporting the glass industry’s decarbonisation and is a key partner for Encirc.

It will be instrumental in trialling sustainable fuels on furnaces and developing the future furnace technology required to support Encirc and the wider glass industry in its goals.

Adrian Curry, Managing Director of Encirc, said: “This will be a major step in our goal of producing net zero glass by 2030.

“With support from the Government and key partners, Encirc and Diageo we believe it will be possible to have this first of its kind furnace up and running at the beginning of 2027.”

He continued that the new furnace would protect glass as a material by addressing the carbon challenge.

“The work we and Glass Futures undertake will be shared with the UK glass industry to ensure glass remains as the packing of choice for many more thousands of years.”

In 2021, Encirc, in collaboration with glass industry partners Glass Futures, trialled one of its furnaces in its Northern Ireland plant on sustainable biofuels on many brands including Diageo’s Black & White bottles, using 100% recycled glass to create the most sustainable bottles ever produced.

The bottles had a carbon footprint of up to 90% lower than a standard glass bottle.

Ewan Andrew, President, Global Supply & Procurement and Chief Sustainability Officer at Diageo, said: “We are really excited to be a part of this world leading announcement which forms part of our commitment to halve our Scope 3 carbon emissions by 2030.

“All renewable energy options are important to us and we’d like to see Government and industry further accelerating the direct supply of green energy as a mainstream option. Ultimately, we look forward to a world where people can enjoy their favourite drinks from zero carbon glass bottles.”

The use of the zero-carbon furnace will contribute towards Diageo’s commitments in its ESG action plan Society 2030 to reduce carbon emissions across its supply chain by 2030.