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Source: Again Again
Sustainable packaging technology company Again Again is spearheading a
pioneering project to trial reusable packaging in the craft beer industry, supported by co-funding from the Ministry for the Environment’s Te Tahua Pūtea mō te Kirihou Auaha – Plastics Innovation Fund, Garage Project, and the Glass Packaging Forum.

The ground-breaking project gives craft brewers the opportunity to pilot reusable bottles for beer on tap. Up to 50 individual breweries will be funded to establish a reusable packaging asset pool, which promises a range of benefits from cost-savings to better environmental and community outcomes.

“We are excited to extend our work in reusable packaging to enable the craft beer industry to adopt circular economy practices,” stated Nada Piatek, Again Again’s CEO. “Having the input of industry leaders, industry bodies and the government means we have the best chance of opening the door to packaging innovation for the whole sector, as well as other consumer goods sectors, by proving reusable packaging can be a simple, practical and cost-neutral experience for consumers and businesses alike.”

Project outreach to the craft brewing industry has so far yielded enthusiastic
responses from many eager to embrace an industry-wide opportunity for sustainable change.

“Again Again has hit the bullseye,” says Glass Packaging Forum Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon. “They’re tapping into a sweet spot where there’s a great case for the power of reuse and it’s already taking off. This game-changing project will make it much easier for businesses and their customers to participate, and could unlock a massive shift in behaviour to make reuse the new normal.”

Again Again’s cutting-edge technology will integrate with point-of-sale (POS)
software, eliminating the need for customers to download an app. This means
consumers can effortlessly purchase craft beer in reusable bottles, taking custody of the packaging with utmost convenience. Bottles can be dropped back the next time they’re in store.

The project will also introduce an interoperable, reusable “growler,” to replace the industry-standard brown PET litre bottle for beer sold on tap to take away. In New Zealand, there is no recycling solution available for brown PET plastic bottles and consequently these end up in landfills, costing rate payers and contributing to environmental degradation.

By proving the merits of reusable bottles, the pilot aims to convince both consumers and the beer industry that reusable packaging not only enhances the product experience but also delivers tangible business and community advantages. The project will highlight the potential for the craft beer industry to transition from a linear economy to a circular economy, where sustainable practices drive profitability (managing and washing reusables can cost just two thirds of current single use packaging for breweries) and environmental stewardship.

“The project is poised to reshape the future of packaging for the craft beer industry, creating a blueprint for businesses seeking innovative and eco-friendly solutions,” says Piatek. “Hold my beer.”