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Circular Economy

Circular Economy
We're working to minimise the impact of the packaging used across the industry, and ensure that resources are used sustainably.

All reusable, recyclable or compostable

The sustainable use of materials has always played a part in the Scotch Whisky industry. Many of our distilleries reuse spent grain for animal feed and renewable energy production. Now, by embedding the circular economy across the industry, we can bring about lasting change that will help to take the pressure off the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

We will ensure the premium packaging our customers expect is fully sustainable.

From 2025, all new products on the market will have packaging that is widely recyclable, compostable or from a sustainable source.  

We will develop a Packaging Roadmap by the end of 2021, with the support and collaboration of our supply chain.

We will explore technical solutions to meet our targets, working on collaborative research and demonstration projects with suppliers and government bodies.  

We will change perceptions across the industry and the market.

Elaborate and premium packaging is currently seen as the norm, but we will challenge this perspective  and from 2040, we will only be using low carbon packaging which will still have a superior look and feel.

Learn more about the UN's Sustainable Development Goals here.


Fully sustainable products

By moving to a circular economy, we can ensure that resources are being used for as long as possible, that they deliver maximum value during their lifetime and that materials are recovered and regenerated at the end of their life.  

We will minimise the impact of the packaging used across the industry, encouraging innovation in packaging technology and design. Our work will lead to more sustainable packaging, while still providing our customers with the premium products they value.  

Our members have committed to accelerate the move towards a circular economy by:

  • Improving the design of packaging for recyclability
  • Increasing the use of recycled materials
  • Exploring alternative materials and solutions.

We will play our part too, working with government and policy makers to encourage better collection of packaging materials, as well as efficient sorting and recycling. We will also collaborate to make sure the virtues of recycling are communicated across the industry.  

Changing perceptions

Consumer demand is changing. Our customers have traditionally wanted premium packaging to reflect the high quality of our products. But now, many also want to know the packaging we use is fully sustainable.  

There are wider changes across society too. The UK Circular Economy legislation sets out the minimum standards for recycled packaging that businesses need to comply with. More and more businesses are recognising the value of the circular economy.  

As demands change, this is the ideal opportunity for us to seize the initiative and introduce sustainable packaging across the Scotch Whisky industry. 

We will blaze a trail for our members, signposting the way to help them make positive changes in their packaging, supporting R&D and introducing innovation to create sustainable alternatives for our packaging.  

A roadmap to the circular economy

Our packaging roadmap will set out our solutions to reach our ambitions. It is likely to include some or all of the following measures: