Looking at the bottle it is made up of a few parts:

  1. The actual bottle which is made from glass. It also has a script versions of “Lea & Perrins” embossed on the shoulder of the bottle.
  2. The label, which is made from paper, wrapped around the entire bottle and kept together with an adhesive strip under the label, down one side.
  3. The lid, which is made from plastic, allows the bottle to be opened and closed, but also has a second function of regulating the amount of sauce that comes out at one time.

Looking into the product

  • Made since 1837
  • matured for 18 months
  • 150ml & 290ml
  • low fat
  • free from artificial colours
  • free from artificial preservatives

I started by going back to the basics, the ingredients:

  • Malt Vinegar. Made by turning barley into beer, then beer into vinegar.
  • Spirit VinegarMade by fermenting ethanol to produce acetic acid (ethanoic acid).
  • Molasses (treacle). Made by processing cane or beat sugar.
  • Sugar. Sugar cane, sucrose removed and sugar refined. Husks removed for other products.
  • Salt. Brime (evaporated), rock salt (processed), iodised salt (iodine – necessary nutrient), sea salt (unrefined).
  • Anchovies (fish). Regulations to prevent over fishing.
  • Tamarind Extract. Native African fruit, but now grown and used all over the world.
  • Onions.
  • Spice.
  • Garlic.

From this only one clear waste product can be identified. Sugar cane husks, or Bagasse. A little research into the material suggested that the Husks are often used for furnace fuel, as an alternative to other burning materials like wood or coal. Mainly used in sugar refineries as the material is readily available.

I then started thinking about the materials that the bottle uses.

  • Glass (bottle)
  • Paper (label)
  • Plastic (lid)
  • Ink (printing)

And researched into alternatives for these products.

Glass – There are some alternatives to glass. Though glass has a lot of potential when it comes to recyclability and reusability. It is potentially 100% recyclable, whether that is being melted down and reset into new bottles, or actual re-use.

BioPlastic – I found a plastic material that is made from plant sugars. It is called Ingeo Biopolymer.

  • Currently made from plant sugars from 100% annually renewable field corn.
  • But can be grown from any type of sugar, so whatever is geographically most readily available.
  • In the future, it will potentially be made from cellulosic raw materials, agricultural waste and non-food plants.
  • Lower density than normal plastic (PET), so lighter packaging.
  • It has much more end of life options including mechanical and chemical recycling, clean incineration and industrial composting.
  • Can be infinitely remade into more bottles without a loss in quality (unlike PET).

This type of plastic technically work, though i think there would need to be some differences for it to work for this project. For instance, when it will be made from argicultural waste it could be made from the sugar cane Husks mentions above. Also, in terms of it’s end of life options, i think if it was able to be domestically composted that would work as people could easily dispose of the bottle in their own compost heaps, but the fact that it has to industrially composted, make it no different (in the customers eyes) to recycling a plastic bottle. It wouldn’t matter if your focus was the environment rather than advertising, because it would make a environmental difference, using a plastic that isn’t oil based. But the brief is to attract a new audience, and all they would see would be a plastic bottle instead of a glass one. Though you could push the concept that the bottle is made from plants.

Paper – I found a company called treeZERO, or treeFrog. They make paper from sugar cane, or the husks created as a byproduct of sugar extraction. This ties directly into the point made earlier. I am suggesting that the company can take the husks produced while making the sugar for their product, and reuse it as a material to make paper out of, either for the label, or the paper wrap (see sketches).

This type of paper has a number of benefits:

  • Sugarcane can be harvested twice annually, whereas a tree can take up to 10 years to mature before i can be used to make wood fibre paper.
  • The husks are a by product of the sugar production, so they would usually be discarded or used for other products. This means Lea and Perrins can use 100% of the plant, with minimal waste.
  • Tree free production. This means it reduces deforestation, as well as eliminating the cost of transporting and manufacturing paper from wood, both economic and environmental costs.
  • The production is Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) a harmful chemical in the traditional paper manufacture process.
  • It used 10-15% less bleach than regular papers.

Rice Paper – Biodegradable, edible.

Ink – Vegetable Inks – Made from a variety of vegetable oils such as corn, walnut, coconut, linseed, canola and soy bean.

  • Made from renewable resources, unlike conventional inks which are Petroleum based.
  • Solvents aren’t required for cleaning the printing equipment as water based cleaning products can be used reducing the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) released from solvents.
  • They are much easier to de-ink when recycling which results in much less hazardous waste.
  • The one downside of vegetable inks is that they take longer to dry, but as a result, they release only 2-4% VOCs as opposed to Petroleum based inks which release up to 30% VOCs into the atmosphere.
  • The most surprising fact about vegetable inks are that they are no more expensive than petroleum based inks, so it is hard to think of why all printers dont use them.

Natural dye – I was thinking about whether you could just dye the paper with a natural dye, rather than printing it (see sketches about one colour labels).

Another point i looking into about inks was which inks to avoid:

  • Metallic Inks • cannot be recycled and end up in landfill. Toxic chemicals and compounds and metallic fragments can leak after disposal, this is hazardous for the environment.
  • Varnishes • avoid using UV coating as they are detrimental to in environment and cannot be de-inked, so cannot be recycled.
  • Lamination • Cannot be recycled after use so the products end up in landfill.

Labels – I  looked at alternatives to paper labels, cutting out paper altogether. I found two alternatives so far:

  • ACL (Applied Colour Labelling) • The label is screen printed on (see Amigos example). This was developed for use on beer and soda bottles. The image is screen printed onto the bottle and fired in a kiln. The process houses a number of questions. What the comparative energy consumption is compared to manufacturing and applying paper labels. And what chemicals are involved, it is a ceramic paint. The benefits are that the labels would then be paperless, the paint creates permanent adhesion and It provides a 360º design surface.
  • These labels are also sometimes known as thermo plastic.

This is an example of an Applied Colour Label:

  • Pressure Sensitive Labels • This is an adhesive which forms a bond when pressure is applied. I need to find out more about what the material is actually made from, including any harmful chemicals or compounds. But it means that no solvents, water or heat is needed to activate the adhesive.

Aluminium – Also an interesting material, for potential use instead of plastic in the lid (see sketches).

  • Over 2/3 of all the aluminium ever produces is still in use today
  • Due to recyclablity – A recycling infrastructure was set up in the 1970s as the manufactures see the financial benefits and invested in it with a network of drop-off and buy-back centers. This network achieved a 58.1% recycling rate in 2010.
  • Recycling aluminium consumes 95% less energy than does produced aluminium ore.
  • According to the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), the average energy consumption per ton of aluminium has fallen worldwide by up to 70% over the last century.
  • Since 1995, US primary aluminium producers have reduced carbon emissions over 70% under the Voluntary Aluminium Industry Partnership (VAIP) – a joint effort between the Environmental Protection Agency and primary aluminium producers.

This then could be a good alternative to plastic from small elements due to it being highly and easily recyclable.

Cork – It was mentioned at CAT that the cork industry is declining, therefore it would be good to make use of the material to promote it. Also cork has a number of very useful properties:

  • There are many cork forests in europe, meaning it is a local (ish) product. For example Portuagal.
  • Reforestation programes funded by the European Union and the Portugese Government mean that cork forest cultivation in Portugal is growing 4% annually.
  • New trees are being planted at twice the rate that old trees are dying.
  • In cork harvesting, it is only the bark that is taken off, the tree then regrows it’s bark, that means one tree can be harvested multiple times.
  • Its harvesting is a truly sustainable example of agroforestry.
  • The oldest cork tree was planted in 1783 and is still being harvested today.
  • Natural cork stoppers are devoid of synthetic additives and completely biodegradable.
  • Manufacture of cork stoppers uses very little energy.
  • After use, they biodegrade without producing toxic residues or may be recycled into other products such as floor tiles, gaskets and sports equipment.
  • Recork – collected more than 7.5 million natural cork stoppers for recycling.
  • Green Cork Program – uses existing distribution networks to minimise CO2 emissions while recycling.