ecoSPIRITS and Pernod Ricard are reducing glass bottle waste through tech

Who knew that reusing containers a la 70s F&N glass bottles would come back?

by Justin Choo

These days, it takes a lot more than just restraint to drink responsibly. As it turns out, our consumption of spirits adds a lot of waste to the ecosystem.

Pernod Ricard and ecoSPIRITS have just launched a pilot program for a closed-loop distribution of spirits in Singapore. It’s part of the Bar World of Tomorrow initiative launched by Pernod Ricard, Trash Collective and the Sustainable Restaurant Association in 2020 to foster a more sustainable and responsible bar world. 

Kicking off in Singapore with local distribution managed by Drinks Fellas, it’s also the first time that a global brand portfolio is participating in such a program. They cited a study by the National Environment Agency of Singapore showing that less than 13 per cent of glass waste is recycled in the country and this partnership goes some way to address that issue.

The Solution

The ecoTOTE is essentially a glass container in a reusable housing.

The solution is called ecoTOTE, a fully reusable 4.5-litre glass container that offers tracking and supply chain authentication among other smart features. Once emptied, the ecoTOTEs will be returned to a Singapore-based ecoPLANT for sanitisation and refilling, in line with the quality standards of the distilleries involved. This is especially significant, we’re told as it is extremely difficult to convince the distilleries to allow bottling to be done outside of their production line.

ecoSPIRITS has a dedicated facility for the treatment and the reuse of ecoTOTEs.

The ecoTOTEs (3.0S) are then used in specialised dispensers called SmartPour 2.0S. The latest iteration is designed to be placed in front-of-house environments and provides accurate, one-button spirit pours in measures of 30ml, 45ml and 60ml. It can even deliver a continuous pour of 700ml or 750ml for refilling branded spirit bottles. It uses NFC as a security measure to reduce the likelihood of theft.

The new SmartPour 2.0 system simplifies the dispensing process.

Environmental impact

Pernod Ricard and ecoSPIRITS estimate that the program will eliminate more than 4,400kg of glass waste and save more than 3,400kg of carbon emissions in the first six months, which is roughly the footprint for 80 flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. This works out to over 60 per cent of carbon emissions associated with packaging and distribution and 95 per cent of packaging waste compared to the operational status quo.

On average, this saves 30g of carbon emissions per spirit pour or cocktail and emphasises how sustainable drinking choices can lead to small but important changes. 

To refill, all you need is an authorised bottle identified via NFC.

Furthermore, one tree will be planted for each cycle of an ecoTOTE used by our bar partners through the ecoSPIRITS Forest Program. It is estimated that an estimated 1,440 trees will be planted during the pilot program, raising the total positive carbon emissions impact of the Singapore pilot program by another 31,500kg yearly. 

Thirty bars have been targeted for this programme, but the big news is that three of Asia’s best bars in Singapore will be among the first to take part. MO Bar, Republic Bar Singapore, and Smoke & Mirrors have joined the initiative to step up their sustainability efforts and will receive Pernod Ricard’s premium spirits–Absolut Vodka, Beefeater London Dry Gin and Havana Club–in the patent-pending ecoTOTE.

The Sunday Spritz by Republic Bar Singapore: a cocktail designed with sustainable ingredients and processes in mind.

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