Diversey, provider of smart sustainable solutions for cleaning and hygiene products, is tackling the growing shortage of glass bottles by developing a system to make recycling and reuse better and more sustainable.

Brewers throughout Europe are facing up to the impact of huge price increases and significant glass bottle shortages. 

Logistic and supply chain issues, which took hold during the pandemic, have been exacerbated by soaring energy prices. As a result, the cost of new glass bottles to the industry has risen 80 per cent since this time last year.

With more energy price increases inevitable, protecting your returnable bottle fleet has never been more important to maintain brand value and your bottom line. So, the question now is, what can be done to reduce the significant costs of removing damaged bottles early from the production cycle?

Maximising sustainability keeps costs down

A reusable system is, despite high transport costs, the more environmentally-friendly option that conserves limited resources. 

It is also a brand positive, when your customers have high awareness of the environmental impact of energy use and emissions, and prefer to buy beverages in refillable containers. 

The high carbon footprint of glass bottles ensures the returnable option remains essential to maximise sustainability and to keep costs lower. According to Diversey,  the industry average consumes 1.2 tonnes of equivalent CO2 for every one tonne of new glass bottles.

However, accepting a trade-off of cost and appearance results in brand damage, and therefore is not an option. 

BottleCare extends life by up to 50%

Diversey said that by using its returnable glass BottleCare programme, brewers can extend the life of their bottle fleet by up to 50 per cent. 

Protective cleaning technology, along with cosmetic treatments, prevents damage, which means bottles remain in circulation for longer. 

BottleCare is designed to improve the appearance of returned bottles, and according to the company, this avoids impact on customer satisfaction, while maximising the return on investment in your bottle fleet. 

The programme incorporates two products brewers can apply as standalone initiatives, or combine as complementary solutions. 

A gradual cycle of corrosion

Returnable bottles are subject to a very physical process, and are susceptible to damage during the washing cycle, and the conveyor belt transportation that follows.

Routine exposure to high temperature and harsh chemicals begins the process of corrosion. 

Gradually, bottles develop very noticeable scuff rings – typically, at two points just below the neck and on the bottle’s base. Bottles rub together, or create friction in contact with the guide rails of the filling and packaging system, as well as in transportation. 

Glaze removal only accelerates scuffing on the next cycle, and each subsequent cycle. The more you use the bottles, the more you accelerate the deterioration of their appearance. 

This whole cycle may occur anything from 20 to 50 times for the life of a glass bottle, until it finally reaches the point of breaking, or is discarded due to its deterioration and poor appearance. 

DivoBrite cleans, protects and reduces TCO

Diversey has developed DivoBrite Defend to protect the glass, while delivering cleaning power equivalent to the most corrosive detergent choices currently available. The chemical used is non-EDTA or phosphate-based, "ensuring a better environmental profile".

And, says the company, you don’t require extra investment to take advantage, as the sustainable additive is dispensed through conventional dosing equipment employed on existing bottling lines. 

According to Diversey, it delivers high-performance cleaning and superior glass protection, compared to single or multi-product conventional heavy duty bottle washing additives, and at a lower, more economic consumption rate.

A study in achievable savings

A Diversey case study was carried out at a bottling plant in Mexico, where degradation of label print was limiting bottle life to 30 cycles. 

A rigorous testing regime in comparison with existing additives, revealed headline figures including an annual glass saving of $129,390, a 50 per cent increase in bottle life extension, a 42 per cent reduction in chemical additive consumption, and a reduction in CO2 of 690 tonnes.

At today’s glass prices, the impact of purchasing new glass would be in the region of $232,900 – an 80 per cent increase on glass costs, further highlighting the scale of the achievable saving, says the company.

DivoBrite Defend "tackles the threat to brand equity" through unsightly scuffing and fading of labels or logos. 

Better cleaning performance is said to improve line efficiency performance, and achieve a reduction in carbon footprint. 

Micro contamination risks are reduced through scale removal and residue build-up actively prevented. Also, says the company, there’s a reduction in re-wash rates, which together with all improvements, can achieve a significant reduction in your total cost of operations.

The mask you can’t easily remove

Diversey’s second complementary innovation, DivoMask, is a complete bottle maskant system, which delivers high shine, quick drying and non-sticky coating. 

According to Diversey, the average number of trips for a returnable bottle is 20, with the majority of producers discarding glass when scuffing reaches between 4-9mm. 

With Divo-Mask, the number of trips can be increased by up to, and in some cases, exceeded 50, says the company. The application system is designed to be retrofit without significant line alterations, providing "consistent dilution and avoiding additional cost and downtime". 

DivoMask meets tough industry requirements for masking technology, exceeding required parameters in all four. These include a freeze-thaw test to ensure the maskant is not affected by transition from chilled to ambient temperatures.

A 48-hour Ice Challenge ensures the coating remains when the bottle is submerged in iced water for that period of time. 

The drying time was found to be realistic, and the criteria of visual coating – the coverage of the maskant and its ability to cover scuffs – was also superior. 

In addition, it’s "extremely economic", with the cost of masking one bottle less than one per cent of the value of actually replacing that bottle, while the life of the bottle fleet is extended by up to 50 per cent. 

Staying resilient and competitive

DivoBrite and DivoMask are "valuable allies for your bottle fleet", adding resilience to your operations and helping you remain competitive, says the company.

Diversey’s BottleCare programme "will ensure your bottles keep delivering your product, and counter threats to the integrity of your brand, as you combat some of the most difficult operational circumstances the industry has seen."

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