AB InBev has co-developed a new packaging technology consisting of making paper from leftover straw, using a proprietary process developed by Sustainable Fiber Technologies (SFT) in combination with fully recycled wood fibers to create a high-resistance six-pack basket for bottles. The LIFE STRAW project began in 2018 as a way of moving away from trees as a source of packaging material by using straw as alternative raw material. The design went all the way back in the supply chain even to the field where the barley & wheat used in our beers grows. Understanding how the fibers grow, it’s harvested, cut, stored, and collected, allowed a better understanding on how to upcycle it and create this innovative version of the traditional 6 bottle packaging carton.
Currently, we are also expanding the technology to be used for labels. The labels will consist of some straw fiber and virgin fibers.
Project objectives and impact
The LIFE STRAW Pack project uses alternative fiber materials to reduce AB InBev’s packaging dependence on wood fibers. It also allows to reduce the overall environmental impact of our paper packaging. The use of straw in packaging means that farmers (in markets where the pack exists), could potentially create an additional revenue stream, and would be incentivised to reduce environmentally harmful practices such as burning the straw.
This technology won Packaging Europe’s 2022 Sustainability Award and Best in Class – Package Innovation Sustainable Design & two awards of distinction at the PAC Awards 2023.