Creating the world’s first zero-carbon glass bottles

3 Aug 2023
An artist's impression of the proposed hydrogen-powered furnace

Cutting carbon emissions from the processes that produce our packaging is an important part of creating a more sustainable and resilient supply chain. We’re taking a big step towards that with a revolutionary furnace that will produce the world’s first net zero glass bottles on a large scale.

With glass manufacturer and co-packer Encirc, we aim to change the face of glass with a hydrogen and green electricity-powered furnace producing over 200 million zero-carbon bottles a year by 2030.  

Encirc will build the furnace at its plant in Elton, Cheshire. It’s scheduled to start producing bottles for Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and Tanqueray in 2027, and at full capacity will handle half our European supply for these brands. Using the furnace will reduce carbon emissions by 90% compared to standard methods, with carbon capture technology handling the remaining emissions by 2030. This innovation will contribute to our commitment to halve our scope 3 carbon emissions as part of our action plan Society 2030: Spirit of Progress. 

The hydrogen 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.  

This isn’t the first time we’ve worked with Encirc. In 2021, with Glass Futures, Encirc trialled a biofuel-powered furnace in Northern Ireland, which produced bottles for brands including Black & White, using 100% recycled glass. With a carbon footprint up to 90% lower than a standard bottle, they were the most sustainable bottles ever produced.  

Glass Futures 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 for furnaces and developing future furnace technology to support Encirc and the wider glass industry in its goals. 

Find out more how we become sustainable by design

View Annual Report 2023