A raft of brewers in the UK have begun packaging their beer in lighter bottles.

Non-profit organisation Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) said yesterday (8 January) that brewers including SABMiller and Scottish & Newcastle have begun using light-weight bottles in the UK in adherence to the GlassRite programme, an initiative with all sectors of the drinks supply chain to lightweight glass packaging.

While SABMiller has reduced the weight of its 330ml bottle for Miller Genuine Draught by 8%, S&N has introduced a new lighter weight bottle for its Strongbow and Strongbow Sirrus cider, reducing the weight by 14%.

Marston's has introduced a 500ml bottle across its whole range, which is 21% lighter than its predecessor, with Wells & Young's taking 21% out of its 660ml Cobra bottle. Frederic Robinson's Ltd., meanwhile, has taken 24% out of its 500ml bottle for Robinson's own beers plus others from the Black Sheep Brewery and Broughton Ales. This bottle now matches the lightest 500ml bottle used in the UK.

The combined efforts of the five brewers have saved 3,800 tonnes of glass and 2,515 tonnes of CO2, WRAP noted.

"GlassRite has led the way and shown what can be done to lightweight glass containers," said Andy Dawe, WRAP's head of retail programmes. "It is very encouraging to see so many major lager, ale and cider brands redesigning their bottles in-line with changing consumer and industry expectations."

WRAP has also been working to help create lightweight wine bottles, which have been adopted by supermarkets Morrisons and Tesco, and brand owners Constellation Europe and PLB Wines. Most recently Broadland Wineries the UK's joint largest contract bottler has launched UK's first light-weighted bottle for sparkling wine.