Lightweight and durable: more sustainability thanks to Echovai
Glass is one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging materials. It is made from natural resources, does not release any harmful substances and is 100 percent recyclable. To date, the only weak points of glass bottles have been their weight and resistance. With Echovai, Vetropack is the world's first manufacturer of glass packaging to develop a solution that significantly improves these aspects – and, at the same time, further increases the sustainability of glass packaging.
Echovai is a particularly robust and material-saving kind of lightweight glass bottle. "Echovai bottles are a superior solution, both economically and ecologically, that could actually revolutionise the market for returnable glass containers," Daniel Egger, Head of Innovation at Vetropack, emphasises.
Bottles made of Echovai glass are around 30 per cent lighter than conventional bottles. This is especially impactful with returnable bottles, as they have to be transported back to the bottling plants for refilling. A look at the Austrian Echovai pilot user Mohrenbrauerei shows the enormously positive effect that Echovai has in this respect: for the types of beer that the brewery already uses to fill Echovai bottles, the logistics effort could be reduced by around 1,000 tonnes per year.
Another advantage: Echovai bottles break much less frequently than conventional bottles and show significantly less scuffing on the contact surfaces. After three years of use and up to twelve cycles, a large proportion of the Echovai bottles used by the Mohrenbrauerei can even still be described as being in mint condition. “We therefore assume that Echovai bottles will achieve a significantly higher number of cycles – which makes them an even more compelling solution compared to standard bottles," says Daniel Egger.
Environmentally friendly alternative even for products in disposable containers
Echovai bottles are not only an alternative for beverage producers who already sell their products in returnable containers. Egger and his colleagues also see great potential for the new Vetropack solution in the segment of disposable glass bottles, since weight often plays a decisive role in this here. In this way, Echovai could promote the switch to reusable containers.
"In the long term, we are striving for a more user-friendly return and refill system with 100 percent reuse of the bottles," explains Daniel Egger. "We are also already working on a solution for optimised traceability of our Echovai bottles. In the future, a specific data matrix code on each bottle will make it possible to link any data with the product unit. This will make it possible to link areas of the value chain that are currently considered separately and to trace them back along the entire supply chain – from production to bottling to the end customer. Echovai thus also marks the dawn of a new era of digital interlinking."