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Packaging for drinks brands such as Guinness will no longer use plastic, as part of a £16 million initiative launched by its maker Diageo.

The drinks giant, which also owns spirits including Baileys, Bells and Captain Morgan, said it would no longer use plastic rings or shrink wrap in its packaging for Guinness or Harp, Rockshore and Smithwick’s beer.

From August this year, the company will use only “100% recyclable and biodegradable cardboard” for multi-pack cans in Ireland, with the change coming in the UK and the rest of the world next year.

It follows a global campaign for food and drinks brands to dramatically reduce the use of single-use plastics due to its environmental impact.

A number of companies have introduced changes, including swapping plastic straws for paper straws, while Carlsberg switched to glue to hold its cans together instead of plastic rings.

Diageo said its move with cut plastic waste by 400 tonnes a year.

Oliver Loomes, country director of Diageo Ireland, said: “Managing our environmental impact is important for the planet and the financial sustainability of our business.

“We already have one of the most sustainable breweries in the world at (Dublin’s) St James’s Gate and we are now leading the way in sustainable packaging. This is good news for the environment and for our brand.”