The plastic rings that hold packs of beer cans together, and other canned beverages, are a common piece of litter all over the UK, and elsewhere. They’re also among the more environmentally damaging, because it’s so easy for animals to get trapped in them.

Now one beverage company is taking steps to eliminate them from its range of products. Heineken is now introducing 100 per cent plastic-free toppers to its range of UK beer cans.

Its cardboard toppers will now be used across its cans of Fosters, Heineken and Kronenbourg 1664 lagers, with plans to roll this kind of packaging out across the brewer’s entire cider and beer range, Packaging News reported.

The company will also be removing any shrink-wrapping from its multipacks of cans, with these steps set to remove 517 tonnes of plastic a year. That’s the equivalent of 94 million plastic bags.

Michael Gillane, marketing director at Heineken UK, said that the company has spent years working on an alternative to the plastic rings used to package multipacks of cans.

He told the news provider that this innovation was a “game changer”. “We have been working on a solution for several years – one that is durable, totally recyclable and completely plastic free,” he added.

Mr Gillane also revealed that the company went to great lengths, using smart glasses to train the operators in its Manchester plant on how to use the new packaging machinery they installed to produce the cardboard toppers, to ensure the launch wasn’t delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As we revealed earlier this year, European consumers prefer cardboard packaging to many of the alternatives, so the decision by Heineken to introduce these card toppers across their range is likely to be a popular one.

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