Story 2015-02-01 2WVH Making the case for cardboard bottles, to replace glass

Making the case for cardboard bottles, to replace glass

by
in environment on (#2WVH)
story imageApart from the introduction of twist-off caps, glass bottles have remained impervious to innovation for centuries—mainly because there’s nothing wrong with them. Except they’re fragile and awfully heavy. That’s the insight behind Paperboy, a new brand of wine packaged in cardboard bottles.

The container is made mostly of industrial paper waste that’s 80 percent lighter than its glass cousin, so it takes less fuel to transport. Even with fuel prices dropping, gas and oil remain a huge expense for businesses. The packaging is molded from paper pulp (think of the material used in egg cartons) and lined with a plastic bladder, made by GreenBottle. Benefits include lighter weight, extra insulation keeping drinks cool longer, no risk of breaking, and cardboard is easier and more efficient to recycle than glass.

Beer manufacturer Carlsberg says they are also working on cardboard beer bottles, but unlike other cardboard bottles their design won't have a plastic bladder on the inside. Instead, the 100% biodegradable & recyclable cardboard will be treated with a coating on the inside to prevent beer from seeping through. They aim to release them in the next three years.
Reply 23 comments

The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 2, Interesting)

by mth@pipedot.org on 2015-02-01 05:06 (#2WVJ)

The wine bottle with a plastic bladder sounds much like existing cardboard containers, except that it's a cillinder instead of a block. Maybe the shape helps break into the mid-price segment (the author who claims $15 wine is for "chugging" must live in a different world), but it's not a big step in my eyes.

The beer bottle on the other hand, without the plastic bladder, is actually a step forward in terms of recycling: while cardboard and plastic can be recycled when separated, that is not possible or worthwhile when they are joined together, as far as I know.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 3, Interesting)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2015-02-01 06:44 (#2WVM)

I was wondering which is more substanable, plastic coated cardboard or glass. How about an aluminium bladder in cardboard?

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 2, Insightful)

by nightsky30@pipedot.org on 2015-02-01 12:19 (#2WVP)

Forgive me if I am missing something. But if they used an aluminum bladder in cardboard, why not just skip the cardboard, save trees, and stick with aluminum cans that we already have?

Also, what type of chemical is the cardboard treated with which makes it leak proof? Is the chemical detrimental to human health seeing as we will be ingesting some amount of it with the liquid?

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 2, Interesting)

by hapnstance@pipedot.org on 2015-02-01 13:46 (#2WVR)

Also, will the coating affect the flavor of the beer? I know there is a definite difference in flavor between bottled (glass) beer and canned beer. If they want the current glass bottle consumer to buy into this new packaging they better do extensive testing to make sure the flavor profile is not changed. Beer snobs everywhere will not accept this if the beer taste changes.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-02-01 23:48 (#2WVV)

I only drink my beer out of a fedora!

But seriously, there is a taste change. I prefer draft over everything else, then bottle, then can. Screw cardboard milk carton

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 2, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-02-02 00:32 (#2WVW)

Who cares? They are going to put Busch Light or Miller in it anyway. Actually, the seeping flavor might get some Busch drinkers used to stronger flavor and help them graduate to real beer. This could in turn increase production and drop prices for me. I think everybody should support this move.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 2, Informative)

by fnj@pipedot.org on 2015-02-02 16:18 (#2WVX)

I was wondering which is more substanable, plastic coated cardboard or glass. How about an aluminium bladder in cardboard?
I'll bite. How on earth would you make an aluminum "bladder" that is both flexible and durable? If what you mean is aluminized LINING and not a bladder at all, I direct your attention to the fact that aluminum cans are internally coated with a plastic substance as it is. There has to be a good reason for that.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by nightsky30@pipedot.org on 2015-02-02 18:49 (#2WVY)

I think that lining is used to prevent the acidic beverage from eating through the aluminum can. Let a tooth or something else full of calcium soak in a glass of Coke or Pepsi for 24 hours, and note how much of it is left.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by reziac@pipedot.org on 2015-02-02 18:54 (#2WVZ)

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2015-02-03 12:03 (#2WW7)

Nice overview, but no answers. Thanks for the link.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-02-03 12:51 (#2WW8)

Nice overview, but no answers.
Actually, it answers the question:

disposable plastic pouches > refillable plastic jugs > refillable glass > disposable plastic jugs > disposable paper cartons > disposable glass

I admit, "aluminum" is missing from the list, but it would likely fall second to last.

I only wonder why they don't freeze milk solid for shipping, so it can be stacked in its flimsy plastic jugs without requiring the added weight and support of milk crates.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-02-03 14:52 (#2WW9)

Oh man, I would go out of my way to buy never frozen milk, if that should ever become common place. I don't know why, but when it unfreezes it doesn't look or taste the same. Seriously, I'd rather have powdered milk. Speaking of which, why not just powder all milk? Take the weight and volume of water out shipping, easy to contain.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-02-03 16:01 (#2WWA)

Actually, I freeze milk all the time to give it several weeks of extra shelf-life, and it comes out tasting exactly the same as fresh. Only complaints I've heard are when people don't let it thaw entirely, and instead end up with a glass full of thick cream at the start, and basically just white-colored water later.

I despise the taste of powdered milk... Thinner than skim milk, with a spoiled rotten milk flavor and smell that's impossible to eliminate. Even freeze-drying results in the same terrible product. And even worse, it's really not any cheaper than the real, fresh stuff, probably due to the energy cost of the dehydrating process.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-02-03 22:25 (#2WWE)

I don't know, I can only speak from my experiences, and they've all been horrible with unfrozen milk and great with full fat powdered milk.

With powdered milk, you have to make sure you get full fat powdered milk. Most of the stores in the US only sell skim powdered milk, which is terrible. Most of the time you need to go to a specialty ethnic store to get the full fat powder.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 2, Funny)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2015-02-04 00:41 (#2WWG)

My family went full on powdered milk for years. I avoided milk for years. Skipped breakfast for years. Avoided hot drinks. Only drank flavoured milk from the school canteen sometimes. I hate powdered milk.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2015-02-04 00:24 (#2WWF)

Wouldn't freezing cause the water and milk solids to separate? Could also change the taste. Also, would frozen items be more costly and difficult to transport than chilled items?

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-02-04 09:51 (#2WWH)

Yes, the fat and water freezes at different temperatures, but once fully thawed they mix together and the taste is indistinguishable. Maybe that's only true of homogenized milk? Haven't tried it with non-homogenized.

Transporting an item that's far below its target temperature is considerably cheaper... The train cars or truck trailers don't need active refrigeration system, as it'll take at least a couple days to thaw out, and should be at its destination long before then. The volume increases by a small amount, but eliminating the need for extra structure (like milk crates) should save even more space, and most importantly, weight.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-02-05 17:04 (#2WX3)

Starting to wonder if I'm a milk sommelier. Some people really can't tell the difference between two buck chuck and a superb vintage, I wonder If I just have a crazy milk discerning palate. I guess that's what happens when your baby sitters are dairy farmers.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-02-04 20:53 (#2WWS)

Around here, milk comes in unrefrigerated cardboard cartons, and it has an unopened shelf life of months. No need to freeze it for shipping, just pile crates and crates onto a truck and take 'em. Why don't they have that kinda milk in the USA?

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2015-02-04 21:31 (#2WWT)

People buy what they are used to. We are creatures of habit.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-02-04 22:36 (#2WWV)

You misunderstand. The freezing is for extra structural strength. Milk crates are needed because the containers aren't strong enough to support the weight of several more rows of containers on top of them. Freezing turns the milk itself into extra structure that will support the weight, without the need for milk crates or similar, reducing shipping weight and volume.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-02-05 15:05 (#2WX2)

Oh, they do. Not nearly in the volume that they do in other countries. I HATE UHT milk, with a real passion. Its terrible taste and texture compared with fresh normal temperature pasteurized milk. If you think I'm just crazy, try making cheese out of UHT milk .. you can't the proteins are all messed up. It won't come together to make a solid curd.

Re: The beer bottle sounds more interesting (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-02-02 19:24 (#2WW0)

Yeah, chugging isn't probably the word he should be using there. But I get what he's saying. Its not a $100 bottle of wine that you're supposed to store for a min of 3-5 years before drinking. Its a "enjoy soon" wine. But, they should be very careful of what wine they actually put in there, otherwise there will be a stigma attached to the package forever. Right now boxed wine is in the same category, some of it is very good, but the first available wine in it was kind of terrible. So most people associate it with bad quality. I wonder how the cost of this cardboard bottle compares to the current milk carton style package wine is sold in. Is it cheaper, better for the environment? Or just different.