Heineken Green Grip 9

Source: Heineken

Heineken had been working on a solution to plastic pack rings for several years

Heineken is rolling out a plastic-free cardboard topper across its entire beer and cider portfolio. 

The topper, called Green Grip, was revealed to be in the works in November last year. However, it had experienced “major operations obstructions” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the installation of the new packaging machinery due to take place at the same time as travel restrictions were implemented across Europe, said the brewing giant.

It overcame the “significant logistical hurdle” by using virtual technology, with the team at its Manchester factory using ‘smart glasses’ to collaborate with Italian engineers on the installation process and to receive virtual training on how to operate the machinery safely, said its marketing director Michael Gillane.

It has initially launched on Heineken, Foster’s and Kronenbourg multipack cans, before rolling out across the wider range next year.

Heineken said the switch from shrink wrapping to Green Grip would eliminate more than 517 tonnes of plastic per year, equivalent to 94 million plastic bags.

Gillane called Green Grip “a game changer” which “can be used at scale on hundreds of millions of cans every year”.

It will install the same equipment at its Tadcaster and Hereford sites in March 2021.