Bacardi has announced a new partnership with Danimer Scientific to replace the single-use plastic bottles across its entire product portfolio with 100% biodegradable, plant-based alternatives – a move that is projected to replace 80 million plastic bottles per year.

This move has been made possible by Bacardi’s collaboration with Danimer Scientific, a developer and manufacturer of biodegradable products. Petroleum-based plastics used by Bacardi today will be replaced by Danimer’s Nodax PHA, a biopolymer that is derived from the natural oils of plant seeds such as palm, canola, and soy.

According to Bacardi, the new spirits bottle made from Nodax PHA will biodegrade in a wide range of environments, including compost, soil, freshwater, and seawater; and after 18 months, will disappear without leaving behind harmful microplastics.

BACARDÍ rum will be the first spirit to appear in the new bottle, before the plant-based material is rolled out to replace single-use plastic across the entire Bacardi supply chain and the company’s 200 brands and labels including BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, GREY GOOSE vodka, PATRÓN tequila, MARTINI vermouth, and DEWAR’S Scotch whisky.

Jean-Marc Lambert, senior vice president of global operations at Bacardi, said: “When we set ourselves the goal of being 100% plastic-free by 2030, we knew that it would take ground-breaking advances in packaging design to make it achievable, and that’s exactly what’s happening through our partnership with Danimer.”

With the help of the new material, the Bacardi Packaging Development team also hopes to crack one of the beverage industry’s longest-standing plastic problems – the plastic lining of bottle closures. “It may sound small,” says Lambert, “but add that up across every bottle produced globally and we’re talking many tons of plastic every day.

"Once we’ve fixed the problem, we’ll be open-sourcing the solution for the entire industry to use. This isn’t about competitive advantage, it’s about doing the right thing for the planet.”

Today’s announcement by Bacardi represents a major step towards the company achieving its goal of being 100% plastic-free in the next 10 years. As well as launching the new biopolymer bottle in 2023, the company has also committed to removing all its non-essential, single-use plastic, including all plastic gift box materials and plastic point-of-sale materials, in the next three years.

Nodax PHA was verified as a biodegradable alternative to petrochemical plastics by the University of Georgia (UGA) and the UGA New Materials Institute in a 2018 study. Danimer Scientific currently uses the material for a wide range of applications, including thermoformed trays, drinking straws, flexible and multi-layer film packaging, coatings, disposable cutlery, and more.