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PET for liquor gains ground in Canada

In Canada today, between one-quarter and one-third of all liquor is sold in plastic bottles, according to a report from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.
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The clarity of PET is part of its allure. But beyond appearances, filled plastic bottles weigh about 30% less than glass and are shatter-proof. The light weight translates to transportation fuel savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The shatter-proof properties mean less container breakage and product loss during transport. And the lighter-weight, unbreakable packaging also provides increased portability and convenience for consumers.

Plastic liquor bottles were introduced in Canada about a decade ago. But only in the last few years have they really started to gain significant shelf space. For example, according to figures from the Novia Scotia Liquor Corp., almost 50% of Smirnoff Vodka in 750-mL bottles now sells in plastic rather than glass. For Captain Morgan White in 750-mL bottles, plastic now accounts for about 40% of sales.

Howard Kirke, vice president of external affairs for Corby Distilleries Limited, says, “Plastic liquor bottles are a convenient choice that our customers feel good about using.” Corby offers some of its most popular brands in PET bottles, including Polar Ice Vodka, Lamb’s Rum, and Wiser’s Special Blend Canadian Whisky.

PET bottles are recyclable, and in Toronto, for example, residents can recycle them by putting them in their blue bins or returning them to liquor stores for a deposit refund. In Halifax, residents can take their empty plastic bottles to an ENVIRO-Depot and obtain deposit refunds.

For retailers, plastic liquor bottles are said to offer the advantage of lowering warehouse and in-store breakage rates. It has been estimated that plastic bottles potentially can reduce container breakage rates and consequential product waste by more than 90%.

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