Bacardi Is Making A Small Packaging Change To Reduce Plastic Waste

In recent years, alarming photos of a massive island of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean have been shown on the news and the internet highlighting the problem of improperly disposed of plastic. Bacardi has taken notice of plastic waste negatively affecting the planet and announced it will make a small, but significant, change to its products.

According to National Geographic, in the next decade, about 22 million tons to 58 million tons of plastic waste will end up in the world's oceans every year. The most common types of plastic found in the ocean are food wrappers, beverage bottles, grocery bags, and straws, per National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). When these pieces of single-use plastic enter the ocean, they do not decompose, causing major problems for marine ecosystems. The good news is there are things people can do to help, according to NOAA, particularly reducing the amount of plastic used. And that's where Bacardi is focusing its attention: The company is pledging to be completely plastic-free by the year 2030.

"We are making this bold move because it's the right thing to do for the planet," said Rodolfo Nervi, vice president of Global Safety, Quality & Sustainability for Bacardi, per a press release. "As a family-owned company for more than 160 years, pioneering change is in our DNA, and we're proud to be leading the industry as we take another huge step towards achieving our commitment to be 100% plastic free by 2030."

Removing plastic pourers

A major way that Bacardi is striving to meet its goal to be plastic-free in eight years is by eliminating the plastic pourers from the bottles it sells in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Portugal, the spirits company announced on October 25. Known as plastic Non-Refillable Fitment (NRF), these pieces are located in many bottles of liquor to help with pouring, per Bacardi, including some of its products like Bacardi rum and Bombay Sapphire gin. By removing these plastic components from the bottles, Bacardi predicts it will eliminate 76 tons of plastic each year from its products. While Bacardi has already begun to remove the NRF from products, it'll take about another six months for all 1.75-liter bottles of Bacardi rum in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico to no longer contain the plastic pourers.

Another way that Bacardi has begun to reduce its plastic waste is by removing single-use plastic from its gift packs and point-of-sale materials, which it predicts will be completed by 2023. Looking to the future, Bacardi said it will continue to seek out ways to reduce plastic waste with its products. That could include reducing plastic pieces with sustainable materials or removing them entirely.

"Consumers will continue to enjoy the same exceptional quality and taste from our entire portfolio of brands as we continue on our journey to a more sustainable future," Nervi said.