The 'Snap Pack' begins rolling out in Europe this month.
Long before the hip environmental cause du jour was banning plastic straws, six-pack rings—the kinds found holding together cans of beer and soda—were the troublesome plastic plaguing our oceans. Many of us remember being told to cut them up before disposal to make sure they wouldn’t entangle marine life. Over the years, some of these concerns have been addressed with improved types of six-pack rings—a Florida brewery even developed edible rings—and switches to things like cardboard or plastic wrapping, which is what the Danish brand Carlsberg chose to do. But now, Carlsberg has unveiled a completely new solution… literally sticking the cans together with glue.
In an effort to reduce plastic waste globally by more than 1,200 tonnes a year, Carlsberg announced that its canned multi-packs (which include 4-, 6-, and 8-packs) will transition towards a new “Snap Pack” technology where, according to Packaging Europe, the cans are bonded to each other with small dots of a specially-developed glue that is strong enough to hold full cans of beer together, but apparently can easily be “snapped” apart by drinkers.
Though the brand says the new tech has been “three years in the making,” outside of that, Carlsberg’s announcement didn’t delve particularly deep into how such wizardry works. Consider it something to ponder over your next can of beer. Images do show that the middle two cans are also attached to a thin handle, making six-packs more convenient to carry.
“It’s an important day for Carlsberg. We are working hard to deliver on our ambitious sustainability agenda and to help tackle climate change,” Cees ’t Hart, CEO of the Carlsberg Group, said in a statement. “We always strive to improve and today’s launch clearly shows our ambition to follow in our founder’s footsteps towards a better tomorrow. Carlsberg’s Snap Pack will significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste, and we look forward to giving our consumers better beer experiences with less environmental impact.”
Carlsberg even got the World Wildlife Fund on board, with Bo Øksnebjerg, the secretary general of WWF Denmark, including a statement that read, “Our wildlife is drowning in plastic—and the problem is unfortunately growing considerably. We therefore need to act now. We need less plastic to end up in nature. That is why we consider it huge progress that Carlsberg is now launching solutions that significantly reduce the amount of plastic in its packaging. With these new solutions, Carlsberg has taken the first big steps on the journey towards a more clean and green future.”
Snap Packs are set to debut with a trial launch in the U.K. this week and in Norway starting on September 17. A further rollout is then slated to start in 2019 in Denmark. As for the U.S., a Carlsberg representative declined to provide any specifics about when Snap Packs may arrive on American shores, stating only that the brand was prioritizing its biggest markets; however, he did agree that a U.S. launch is plausible. Obviously, if this new system is as good as Carlsberg says it is, you’d think they’d want to introduce it everywhere they can.