Brewer Molson Coors is rolling out multipacks of Carling wrapped in film rather than cardboard after investing £6.3m in new packaging technology.

Describing itself as the first major UK brewer to invest in the technology on such a scale, the company said the new equipment at its Burton site would improve its environmental performance.

Carling and Coors Light will now be sold in film wraps that reduce the weight of secondary packaging by 63% and carbon emissions by 4%. The company has kept ink coverage to less than 5% of the overall packaging so the film can be 100% recycled.

The film is now being rolled out on multipacks and is replacing the traditional plastic rings on four-packs. Larger pack sizes up to 15 cans will have a carry handle, which the brewer says is an industry first.

Films packs are expected to replace cardboard packaging in most retailers in the next four to six weeks, and film is also being used for an exclusive Union Jack-themed 15-can pack rolling out to Sainsbury’s stores next month.

Molson Coors said it would examine extending to use of film to its other brands, which include Grolsch and Worthington’s, after getting feedback about the initial roll out.

This investment is part of a redevelopment programme that kicked off last year, with Molson Coors planning to increase capital investment in its brewery network by £15m a year over five years, with the majority spent in Burton.

“This new packaging technology is part of our plan to drive innovation and meet the future needs of our customers and consumers, while being as energy-efficient as possible,” said head of supply chain strategy and change Jim Shaw.

“It is another step in our five-year plan to redevelop our largest brewery.”