When it comes to inventing the latest in environmentally-friendly packaging, Green Gen Technologies, Toulouse-based start-up, seems to have come up with just the ticket. After three years R&D, its director James de Roany has announced the launch of a zero-glass, organically-sourced bottle – in other words made from a material entirely or partially manufactured from organic matter. The bottle consists of an outer shell made from composite flax, which combines flax fibres with plant-based thermoplastic resin. If this takes off, it could be a welcome alternative for environmentally-conscious industries.
Extensive research has gone into the choice of materials. The flax composite forms a rough or smooth surface, on which a label can be permanently affixed. The start-up has even come up with the idea of pyro engraving the name of the product directly onto the fibres, and in so doing avoiding any need for labels and adhesive. Its smooth, aesthetic appeal and cork colour gives the bottle an attractive finish. Inside the shell, the company has placed a protective inner film so the quality of the contents remains unaffected. Though the inner lining may account for 9% of the total mass and is not yet made from natural organic materials, there are plans afoot for it to be 100% organically-sourced in forthcoming months.
One of the key benefits of this form of packaging is its carbon footprint. A 75cl bottle typically weighs 190g, compared to a glass version weighing 300g. The bottle contains less materials and the flax, which is the main component, is made in France. The latter is a global leader in its field and accounts for 67% of total tonnage. This plant-based material is found increasingly in a number of sectors, largely due to its light weight and durability, including the automobile, aeronautical, eco-construction, ski and mountain biking industries. In addition, the bottles are biodegradable if crushed.
The good news is that the bottles are no longer at concept stage. Having passed all the necessary quality and durability tests, production of a small run of 70cl and 75cl bottles commenced in December 2017. In 2018, the first bottles should hit the shelves, focusing primarily on wines, beers and spirits. Production targets for 2019 aim to reach 1.5 million units.