Vetropack’s 0.33L returnable bottle poised to transform Austrian brewing industry

Vetropack's 0.33L returnable bottle poised to transform Austrian brewing industry

Not only lighter, but also robust: thanks to their stability and improved resistance to scuffing, the new standard bottles can be refilled up to 20 per cent more often. © Vetropack Holding Ltd / Schafranek Foto & Film

Vetropack Group together with Brau Union Österreich is presenting a new 0.33-litre returnable bottle that is being launched on the market in February 2024 as a standard solution for the brewing industry.

The bottle is one-third lighter than its conventional reusable counterpart thanks to Echovai production process developed by Vetropack. As a result, it promises to contribute to fulfilling the new Austrian quota on returnables.

Europe’s leading manufacturers of glass packaging said returnable systems with standardised bottles offer economic and environmental benefits: they reduce logistics costs, shorten transport routes, save valuable resources and thus lower CO2 emissions.

Vetropack has developed a 0.33-litre bottle that is available to the entire brewing industry as a standard solution in order to help meet the quota on returnables that is mandatory in Austria since the start of 2024.

The bottle produced by Vetropack is ideally suited for reuse, as it excels in terms of sustainability, convenience, stability and simplifies logistics. Currently, more than two thirds of the material used in the production of the glass is recycled glass. The bottles are tempered with Vetropack’s special Echovai technology, which makes them extremely robust and resistant while simultaneously reducing their weight.

“The bottle is around 30 per cent lighter than a traditional reusable bottle and has at least the same or better pressure and impact resistance,” explains Erich Jaquemar, strategic account manager at Vetropack in Austria. The stability of the lightweight glass bottle has been proven in extensive tests. “Due to fewer scuff marks on the contact surfaces, it can achieve around 20 per cent more refill loops compared to conventional containers. At the same time, the bottle’s stability offers a plus in food safety,” says Jaquemar.

Vetropack developed the shape of the bottle together with relevant stakeholders such as Logistikverbund Mehrweg, the Austrian Brewers Association and its members such as Stiegl, Egger, and Ottakring Brewery under the leadership of Brau Union. The result is a small version of the standard 0.5-litre returnable beer bottle with a height of 212 mm. With this new standard, crates can be stacked in six tiers on each pallet. Additionally, the low bottle weight of 210 grams enables more rows of crates per pallet, which significantly reduces both transport costs and CO2 emissions.

“Basically, we don’t just look at the individual bottle, but at the overall returnable system. In close collaboration with the stakeholders involved and thanks to their expertise, we have coordinated the bottle and crate design, taking into account the associated logistics,” says Jaquemar. Important tests relating to stackability, storability and refilling were carried out at Brau Union’s Wieselburg brewery.

“Buying reusable instead of disposable bottles saves valuable resources and up to 75 per cent of CO2 emissions,” comments Gabriela Maria Straka, director corporate affairs, ESG Sustainability and member of the management board at Brau Union Österreich. “With the bottle developed by our partner Vetropack, we are presenting a more ecological and economically attractive alternative to all those for whom shape, size or weight were previously an argument against reusable bottles.”

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