HEINEKEN'S Hereford plant will get a £4 million investment to replace the plastic rings that hold together cans of beer, lager and cider.

The polluting packaging will be replaced by recyclable and compostable cardboard.

The firm (whose site in Plough Lane in still commonly called Bulmers by local people) says the elimination of plastic rings and shrink wrapping from its entire portfolio of beer and cider multi-pack cans will remove 517 tonnes of plastic annually from the supply chain – the equivalent of 94 million plastic bags a year.

The cash for Hereford is part of a £22 million investment that will be shared with breweries in Manchester (£15 million) and Tadcaster (£3 million).

The new packaging will be rolled out across Heineken, Foster’s and Kronenbourg 1664 multi-pack cans and will be in shops from April 2020.

All Heineken multi-pack cans, including Strongbow, Bulmer’s and John Smith’s, will have the packaging by the end of 2021.

Cindy Tervoort, Heineken's UK marketing director, said: “The effect single-use plastic is having on our planet can’t be ignored.

"Creating an eco-friendly solution that eliminates plastic while still meeting the demands of our beer and cider drinkers has been a big focus in our business.

"Now, after years in development and huge investment, we’re extremely pleased to announce our recyclable and compostable topper innovation, a significant milestone in our journey to eliminate all single-use plastic.”

The company already sells more than half of its beers and ciders on draught in pubs around the country through refillable kegs that can be used for up to 30 years.

Heineken, whose headquarters is in Edinburgh, also operates a cider mill in Little Marcle Road, Ledbury.