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Eliminating hundreds of tonnes of plastic

  • Reduce plastic packaging 
  • Eliminate secondary plastic packaging 
  • Introduce an alternative to plastic rings 

Despite major operational obstructions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, HEINEKEN UK began the roll out its innovative 100% plastic-free cardboard topper – the Green Grip – across its portfolio of brands. The roll-out of the Green Grip, which began in August 2020 and will continue throughout 2021, replaces the plastic hi-cone and mid-cone rings on multipacks of cans, which have been rightly scrutinised for so long.

With the installation of the new packaging machinery set to take place at the same time as travel restrictions were in place across Europe, HEINEKEN UK overcame a significant logistical hurdle by using virtual technology to partly help install the machinery at its brewery in Manchester. Heineken’s team in Manchester used smart glasses to collaborate with Italian engineers on the installation process and receive virtual training on how to operate the machinery safely, allowing fewer people on the shop floor to support social distancing guidelines.

HEINEKEN Turns Beer Waste due to Pandemic into Green Energy

Finding a sustainable use of the beer produced and unable to be sold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On 20th March 2020, speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that pubs were to be shut due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Twelve months later, on the 20th March 2021, they were still shut. As well as the impact on people’s livelihoods, tens of millions of pints destined to be enjoyed by people across the country have gone quite literally down the drain. But the team at the HEINEKEN brewery in Manchester found an innovative way to turn this wasted beer into green energy.   

For the first time ever, the machine that fills beer kegs destined for pubs was put into reverse – and was used to empty thousands of kegs instead. This beer was then turned into green energy – and used to power the brewing kettles and canning pasteurisers. 

Turning apple waste into energy

Finding a sustainable use for the apple pulp which is a bi-product of cider making 

As the UK’s larger cider producer, HEINEKEN uses a lot of apples. During the autumn apple harvest, HEINEKEN buys almost 1billion apples to go into making its cider, and many of these come from the surrounding areas of its Herefordshire cider making facilities. 

First the apples arrive at Ledbury Mill. Here they are pressed so that the juice is squeezed out and can go into making the ciders over at HEINEKEN’s Hereford ciderie. The leftover apple pulp however, is used for something completely different. 

The apple pulp is collected from Ledbury Mill and transported to a site nearby in Hereford where it is fed into the anaerobic digestion process which converts the apple pulp and other natural waste into biogas. This biogas is then fed to a combined heat and power engine to produce green electricity.  

This process has been highlighted by HEINEKEN’s new cider brand, Inch’s, which is made from apples all grown within 40 mins of its Ledbury mill.