Diageo, the global drinks manufacturer, is to stop using plastic in its packaging for a series of brands, including Guinness, Harp, Rockshore and Smithwick’s.
The plastic ring carriers and shrinkwrap will be replaced with recyclable and biodegradable cardboard packaging.
The new packaging is due to be available in Ireland in August, with the UK and other international markets coming online in mid-2020.
Individual cans are already recyclable, including the widget in Guinness Draft, which releases gas on opening to create the creamy head.
Diageo is investing approximately £16m to reduce the amount of plastic in its beer packaging. The company says that less than 5% of its packaging is plastic. The switch to cardboard should reduce usage by 400 tonnes.
Mark Sandys, Diageo's global head of beer, Baileys and Smirnoff, said, “[Guinness] already has one of the most sustainable breweries in the world at St. James’s Gate and we are now leading the way in sustainable packaging.”
The rings, or yokes, as they are known, have been replaced by other brewers. At Carlsberg, the company has introduced snap packs, which are reported to reduce plastic use by 75%. Mexican brewer Corona has switched to bioplastics for its can rings.
As a note, if your beer still features the plastic yokes, all rings should be cut through before going into the recycling box.