The world faces sustainability challenges that are too big for any one brand or organisation to tackle on their own. Single-use materials is one of them.

As part of the PA and PulPac Bottle Collective, we’ve teamed up with global drinks leader Diageo and others to pioneer a Dry Molded Fiber (DMF) paper bottle made from sustainably sourced plant fibers. This innovative technology platform not only saves water and energy during the manufacturing process, but is commercially viable, scalable, and adaptable to deliver the brand identities that consumers expect.

The first commercial prototype DMF bottle – for Diageo’s Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur in a mini format (80 ml) – will be unveiled at the Time Out Fest 2024 in Barcelona, where consumers will get their first chance to experience this revolutionary type of sustainable packaging.


Forward-thinking, together

Diageo is a global leader in premium drinks, across spirits and beer, with over 200 brands – including Guinness, Johnnie Walker, and Baileys, among others – sold across 180 countries. As a key player in the category, Diageo is charting a path for ‘grain-to-glass sustainability’ and is exploring multiple routes to achieve this goal. Its products are traditionally supplied in glass bottles which can be heavy, and Diageo is looking for innovative new ways to reduce its carbon footprint.

Plant-based paper alternatives to heavy glass bottles present an exciting opportunity to improve sustainability, however traditional wet-fiber technologies involve large quantities of water and energy. That’s why Diageo signed up to be part of our Bottle Collective – a group of forward-thinking companies collaborating to accelerate and industrialise a recyclable, high-speed, low-cost, Dry Molded Fiber (DMF) technology from Swedish inventor PulPac. In only two years, we have produced bottles that not only have lower energy, water, and transport requirements than the alternatives, but are also cost-competitive and scalable for mass volume production.


Designing for sustainability and desirability

Scaling a new technology requires deep understanding of the underlying science as well as the realities of commercial manufacturing.

Together with Pulpac, our multidisciplinary team of material scientists, packaging designers, mechanical engineers, growth strategists, and process automation experts ensured that our deep understanding of industry needs translated into technical requirements.

The initial paper bottle prototypes we developed proved DMF had the structural integrity to withstand the journey from supply chain to shelf, satisfying the needs of bottle manufacturers. Also, DMF technology was flexible to produce differently shaped bottles – a critical point for Diageo who wanted to ensure that any paper bottle retained the desirable features and brand identity that consumers know and recognise across its products.


Prioritising sustainability throughout the product lifecycle

To create more sustainable alternatives, we had to consider the entire lifecycle of the product from beginning to end.

“From a sustainability standpoint, Dry Molded Fiber is vastly superior to wet fiber as it eliminates water use and significantly reduces energy consumption,” explained PA sustainable packaging expert, Jamie Stone. He continued, “The bottles are fully recyclable and can be disposed of with normal paper recycling and at paper mills, they are more valuable per gram than equivalent cardboard, incentivising recycling.”

Together with Diageo, we are proud to have developed the very first DMF paper bottle that can be manufactured commercially. The custom Baileys mini format bottle will debut at Time Out Fest 2024, in Barcelona, where consumers will experience the product for the first time, allowing us to collect insight and explore acceptance of this more sustainable bottle.


Uniting to push the boundaries of the possible

The DMF paper bottle is the forerunner of a flexible and wide array of other sizes and shapes that Bottle Collective members can explore from 80 ml all the way to one-and-a-half litres. Brands that join the Bottle Collective can take advantage of this flexibility to create a bottle that works for their brand. The opportunity is for brands not only to reduce environmental impacts but also to drive revenue growth by attracting new consumers and enhancing differentiation in a competitive market. Our future goals include designing packaging from companies’ own waste streams and other recycled materials such as fruit husks and waste leaves.

The PA and Pulpac Bottle Collective and Blister Pack Collective – which bring together world-leading food, drink, pharma, consumer health, and packaging businesses, including Diageo, Sanofi, Haleon, Bayer, and Logoplaste – continue to go from strength to strength. By pooling efforts and resources, our Collectives are working to radically reduce single-use bottles and blister packs on a global scale.

We strongly believe in the power of partnerships. The rapid and high-quality development leading to the Baileys market trial is a powerful testament to how innovation and partnership can drive sustainable packaging solutions.”
Chief Operating Officer at PulPac

The Bottle Collective

The Bottle Collective from PA and PulPac has joined forces with leading brand partners to create the world’s first Dry Molded Fiber bottle.
Wearables lab in Dublin

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