Beer maker MillerCoors saw a jump in sales when it moved 40-ounce (1137ml) and 32-ounce (909ml) bottles from glass to plastic last year.
Jonah Smith, sustainability manager for policy and reporting at MillerCoors, figures the use of PET bottles is only going to increase in the years to come.
Smith, speaking at the Plastics News Plastic Caps & Closures Conference in Itasca, Illinois, United States said about 1% of the company's sales are through plastic bottles these days.
“There is an appetite for it and we saw that with the velocity increase [in sales],” he said, with the switch to plastics.
Bioresins will help push those numbers higher over time, he told the crowd at the conference organized by PRW's sister publication Plastics News.
The change in packaging cut the products' carbon footprint by about 25% while saving tens of millions of dollars in the process. The switch cut container weight by about a pound for each bottle, lowering the tonnage of the products that distributors ship throughout the country.
Smith said: “I'd say within 10 to 15 years you're going to start to see more and more of the packaging product mix switch over to more environmentally sustainable choices. Is PET going to increase? Probably. It's also going to increase as more MRFs, material recovery facilities, improve their technologies in how to best recycle PET.
“It's going to be slow, but it's going to be happen. And it's going to be significant at some point,” he said. “I don't know how it's going to happen. It may be 10 years. It may be 15 years. But you are going to see, increasingly, I think, more environmentally friendly choices.”
MillerCoors is a joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing.