Case Studies


Case Study:

The world's first recyclable, 100% PET-free paper bottle

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Pilot Lite Case Study - The world's first recyclable, 100% PET-free paper bottle

Pilot Lite and Diageo collaborated to establish Pulpex, a sustainable packaging technology company that has developed a patented, first-of-its-kind, single-mould paper bottle that is being adopted for use by a consortium of global CPGs.  


The challenge

In response to growing concern over plastic waste, governments are increasingly implementing regulations around packaging and plastics that will ultimately affect consumer choice. For example, today, there are single-use plastic bans scheduled or already implemented in more than 120 countries around the world.

In addition, CSR and sustainability are now considered fundamental inclusions in corporate strategy. Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, has set an aggressive goal for 100 percent of its packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

The solution

Diageo enlisted Pilot Lite to evaluate environmentally friendly, scalable alternatives to glass and plastic (PET) packaging capable of holding non-carbonated liquids (with a pH range of 2-10 and up to 50% ABV). When no complete solution could be identified, Pilot Lite assisted Diageo in developing a pulp-based bottle.

Together, Pilot Lite and Diageo solved a number of technological challenges to create a single-mould, PET-free paper bottle. Pilot Lite then validated the innovation and began the commercialisation process, establishing the sustainable packaging technology company Pulpex Limited in collaboration with Diageo.

Pulpex demonstrates Pilot Lite’s ability to:

  • validate, fund and successfully commercialize high-value technology enterprises in a short timeframe
  • apply deep innovation intelligence to create unique business models
  • help corporates accomplish ESG initiatives on a commercially profitable basis


"The key innovation behind Pulpex is enabling the successful transition of a portion of glass and plastic packaging to a sustainable, recyclable pulp using existing industrial manufacture and filling infrastructure," said Mike Anstey, CEO and Co-Founder of Pilot Lite. "The Pulpex business model makes this solution, viable, valuable and financeable in a way that previous, non-scalable technologies have failed."

Pilot Lite also recognized the need for brand leadership to affect change in packaging and consumer behavior. To scale the technology faster and facilitate the widest possible adoption of the paper bottle, Pilot Lite created a global consortium of corporates in non-competing categories including Diageo, PepsiCo, Unilever, Castrol and GSK Consumer Healthcare that will utilise Pulpex sustainable packaging for specific brands. It then also leveraged key partnerships with the likes of Stora Enso, BASF and Solenis.

The Pulpex technology is not only capable of producing bottles for a variety of market applications, from homecare and personal care products to alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and liquid foods, it is also customisable by size and shape. Embossing, labeling and coloured pigments are all available to fit brand needs. 

Renewable and recyclable, Pulpex bottles degrade readily in the natural environment and deliver significant improvements on the carbon footprint of glass bottles (90% savings) and PET (30% savings), remove harmful plastic fibres from the environment and reduce the reliance on single-use plastics. Pulpex packaging is recyclable in standard waste streams, which have a far higher yield than plastic waste streams. Across the 28 countries of the European Union, the recycling rate for paper and cardboard packaging waste is approximately 85%, compared to 42% for plastic packaging waste.  

Our goal is to make Pulpex one of the most valuable sustainable packaging firms by 2025.

Watch our Showcase Film here.