BillerudKorsnas and ALPLA have agreed to purchase equal shares in paper bottle manufacturer ecoXpac, to help increase the commercialisation of paper bottles
The world could soon be drinking from recyclable paper bottles after the concept was given backing in a joint venture by Austrian packaging manufacturer ALPLA and Swedish paper packaging materials company BillerudKorsnäs.
They hope to build on the development of a paper bottle prototype designed by Danish beer brand Carlsberg four years ago, to make the drinks industry more sustainable.
CEO and president of BillerudKorsnäs Petra Einarsson said: “I believe that with our shared and honest ambition to break new ground, ALPLA and BillerudKorsnäs can now make an important commitment to contribute to a more sustainable future.
“The question is not ‘if’ but rather ‘how soon’ this joint venture will introduce a fully bio-based and recyclable paper bottle to the market.
“And when we do, it will enable a significant shift in consumer behaviour globally.”
BillerudKorsnäs and ecoXpac’s work with the Carlsberg Group
BillerudKorsnäs is currently the majority owner of ecoXpac, having been a shareholder in the company since 2015, but will sell some shares to ALPLA.
In the same year it bought into ecoXpac, the renewable packaging firm started to work alongside Denmark’s Carlsberg Group to work on developing paper bottles.
In late 2016, the Carlsberg Group unveiled a physical prototype of its paper bottle, the Green Fiber Bottle.
The first generation of this product has since been in a testing phase.
BillerudKorsnäs and ALPLA are hoping to use their resources and industry strengths to support the scaling up of ecoXpac to fully commercialise the paper bottle industry.
EcoXpac CEO Martin Grosen Petersen said: “EcoXpac was founded with a strong vision for the future.
“Today we are privileged to have the best players in their field sharing our vision.
“It makes me proud of what have achieved so far.
“The vision has never felt closer to reality than today.”
With the combination of these companies, BillerudKorsnäs, ALPLA and ecoXpac hope to build on the development of Carlsberg’s Green Fiber Bottle to eventually launch and scale up the production.
The following generations of the product will be both fully bio-based and have biodegradable barriers.
ALPLA CEO Günther Lehner said: “With BillerudKorsnäs, we have found an ambitious partner creating a new packaging market segment that offers a complementary consumer experience to our current rigid packaging solutions.
“ALPLA is sharing the passion for technical challenges and innovation.
“I want to emphasise the long-term vision of the joint venture to introduce fully bio-based paper bottles.
“ALPLA is contributing capital as well as technical know-how to the joint venture to accelerate the development and market introduction of the paper bottle.”
The formation of the joint venture is subject to customary regulatory approvals, such as merger control clearance, with the transaction expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2019.