SWITZERLAND – With its innovative Echovai solution, Vetropack Group, has introduced ‘the world’s first’ returnable bottle made of tempered lightweight glass at Drinktec 2022.

The Echovai bottle is durable and lightweight, weighing up to 30% less than standard returnable bottles.

It is also more resistant to abrasion and reduces logistical effort, producing 25% of the carbon dioxide emissions of a standard 0.33l returnable bottle.

Vetropack Innovation Head Daniel Egger said: “This makes Echovai bottles a truly superior solution, both economically and ecologically. It actually has the potential to transform the market for returnable glass containers.”

Vetropack announced the launch of Echovai following around ten years of development work at its innovation center.

The company is rolling out the glass container in a phased manner due to its ‘sophisticated, technologically demanding’ development process.

As part of the first phase, Vetropack has partnered with Austrian brewery Mohrenbrauerei, which has successfully sold and refilled millions of bottles in the last three years.

The brewery uses Echovai containers for its Pfiff Märzen beer and Radler varieties, with plans to expand it to more of its beer specialities.

In the second phase, Vetropack will discern which facilities it needs to prepare for Echovai production to meet the demand for more bottles across Europe.

The company plans to introduce the bottle to wider markets by licensing technology and knowledge to third parties in the third phase.

At present, the products are exclusively produced at Vetropack’s plant in Pöchlarn, Austria.

Egger added: “We expect this demand to grow very quickly, especially since the performance of Echovai in our pilot project is really outstanding.”

Vetropack said that the Echovai bottles can serve the segment of one-way glass containers, as well as beverage producers.

The bottles could promote the switch to returnable bottles since brand owners usually want to keep their unique bottle characteristics.

“Our long-term goal is to have a more user-friendly return and refill system with 100 percent bottle reuse,” explained  Egger.

“For instance, we are already working on a solution for optimized traceability of our Echovai bottles. By applying a specific data matrix code to each bottle, we will soon be able to link any data to the individual product unit.”

The company states that by linking data to product unit, they will be able to link different parts of the value chain, which are currently viewed separately, and trace them through the entire supply chain – from production and bottling to the end customer and back again, thus also marking the dawn of a new era of digital interlinking.

Vetropack presented the bottle at the Drinktec 2022 trade fair, which was held from 12 to 16 September in Munich.

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