The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Queenstown distillery creates New Zealand’s first fully recyclable refill spirits pouches

Queenstown’s Broken Heart Spirits has launched the country’s first fully recyclable eco-refill pouches.

Understanding how wasteful the beverage industry can be, and mindful of the number of bottles going to recycling plants or landfill, Broken Hearts developed a ‘Bottle for Life’ concept.

Jeorg Henkenhaf

Broken Heart Spirits began in 2012 and owner and Master Distiller Joerg Henkenhaf took great pride in the design of the bottles.

Ten years on, as most bottles ended up in landfill, he despaired about the “waste of a perfectly good bottle”, which is how the ‘Bottle for Life’ came to life.

Step One starts with customers keeping their Broken Heart bottle rather than throwing it away. Broken Heart Spirits started in 2012 and owner and Master Distiller Joerg Henkenhaf took great pride in the design of the bottles representing his meaningful brand.

“People love the bottle shape and design so over the years we’ve often been asked if they can refill it when it’s finished,” says Henkenhaf.

“Many times we’ve recommended upcycling bottles into a beautiful table centrepiece by adding fairy lights, and all that talk of fairy lights led to a lightbulb moment.

“A large percentage of our customers are repeat buyers, so it made total sense to support them with a sustainable and more affordable way to replenish their much-loved stock.”

Now when one bottle is finished, customers can then buy a Broken Heart refill pouch containing their spirit of choice, either online or from the Queenstown Gin Garden, located in Arthurs Point.

While the scheme has launched with Broken Heart’s Original Gin, the plan is to offer all its products very soon.

The lightweight refill pouches cost less to produce than bottles, enabling the business to pass this saving on to customers.

Easier to transport and fully recyclable, the pouches reduce Broken Heart’s overall carbon footprint.

“Every bottle that’s reused and upcycled helps us reduce our impact on the environment,” says Henkenhaf. “It’s a win-win situation for customers, for us and the planet.”

Once customers have filled their ‘Bottle for Life’, they can return the pouch to any Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme, or direct to their distillery and the Gin Garden Tasting Room.

Broken Heart Spirits has also partnered with Trees that Count, dedicating funds raised by selling refill pouches to supporting local native tree planting projects and help the government in its goal to plant a billion trees by 2028.

The benefits of the eco-pouches include reducing associated CO2 emissions by more than 95%, and enabling Broken Heart Spirits or any bar or restaurant to store 166% more stock compared to glass bottles using the same shelf space.

Packaging will be reduced by 40%, minimising the need for cardboard, and the company estimates it will ultimately eliminate 2.3 tons of glass bottles heading to recycling (or landfill).

It will increase the distillery’s onsite storage capabilities by 10 times its current capacities, and the 50% reduction in weight will equal a 50% reduction in its carbon footprint.

The pouches are also over 10-times cheaper to produce, meaning a 16.5% saving that’s being passed on to customers.

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