BRECON Carreg welcomed First Minister Carwyn Jones to an open day as the Trap-based company announced the launch of new, more sustainable, bottles across its small format range of pure and natural mineral water.

Additionally, the plastic content of the bottles has been reduced by between 18 and 30 percent, saving 150 tones of plastic a year in the process – the weight equivalent of a Blue Whale.

The new format bottles for 300ml, 500ml, 750ml and 1L will appear on retail shelves over the next few months, and mark the successful completion of a two year project for the Welsh water brand.

This is the latest in a long line of measures introduced as part of Brecon Carreg’s ongoing commitment to the environment, and was made possible by a £750,000 investment in equipment at the company’s Trap bottling plant by its Belgian parent company, the family owned Spadel Group.

The new launch follows a hugely successful year for Brecon Carreg in 2013, which saw the company cement its place as the leading water brand in Wales with the best growth rate on the market, enjoying a 24 percent increase in value sales and 23% rise in volume sales.

In 2013 more than 33.4 million litres of water went through the factory, with a hot summer contributing to sales of around 47.8 million bottles through a range of retail outlets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrison, Co-op, Waitrose, Lidl and Ocado.

As one of the country’s leading brands, and a company that supports this ethos, the launch of Brecon Carreg’s new bottles has received endorsement from First Minister, Carwyn Jones, who was present at the launch.

“I’m delighted to see Brecon Carreg making such a significant move to increase its commitment to the environment through launching new, more sustainable, bottles, and becoming the 200th organisation to sign up to the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Development Charter,” he said.

“The company has been a mainstay of Welsh business for more than 30 years, and its success demonstrates the growing appetite for the best that Wales has to offer.”

Brecon Carreg has achieved the ‘lightweighting’ of its bottles due to a highly complex combination of changes to process, design and raw materials.

The project has been the brainchild of Production Manager Jeff Phillips, who typifies the local workforce that has been central to the success of Brecon Carreg. He said: “This has probably been one of the toughest tests of my career. As a company we’re trying to find new ways of doing things better every day, but the challenge here was to reduce our plastic content without affecting the quality of our product.

“Two years and many sleepless nights later, I’m pleased and proud that my team has achieved all that was asked of them, whilst at the same time actually managing to enhance the quality of the product.”

The new format Brecon Carreg bottles will appear on shelves in the next few months.