South African Breweries (SAB) has announced plans to replace its existing 750ml 'quart' bottle with a returnable model.

The new bottle, unveiled yesterday (16 April), will be used for its four main brands: Castle Lager, Carling Black Label, Hansa Pilsener and Castle Milk Stout.

SAB, the South African arm of SABMiller, will begin to phase in the new bottle across South Africa, beginning with Cape Town in May and ending with Polokwane in September 2008. Both types of bottle will be in trade for a three-week crossover period in each region.

A spokesperson from SAB said: "While the bottles may be changing, their contents and their price and volume will remain exactly the same as before. We decided to make this investment based on a number of key global trends and consumer-demand developments; the new shape complies with new label technology that is being introduced, including a wraparound neck label. Importantly, the new bottle is more durable than the present one, which has a positive environmental impact. All in all, the new shape is more elegant and more in keeping with modern brewing trends."

There are currently 90,000 tons of the old glass bottles in circulation. Once these have been returned, they will be crushed and recycled.