Heineken Ireland said its Cork brewery is now 96% carbon dioxide self-sufficient as it uses recycled carbon dioxide for the millions of pints of beer it brews there every year.

The fizz in Heineken Ireland's beers comes from recycled carbon dioxide which is created in the natural fermentation process and then captured and reused at the Cork brewery to carbonate its draught beer.

The carbon dioxide reuse project is just one element of the company's commitment to sustainability across all facets of its operation - both in Ireland and around the world.

The company's 2021 sustainability progress report also shows that it is moving towards a circular economy through initiatives such as the reuse of by-products like carbon dioxide and grain dust and the repurposing of kegs of beer during lockdown.

With the hospitality sector continuing to suffer lockdowns last year, Heineken Ireland said that over 19 million pints in total across 2020 and 2021 from the cellars of pubs in lockdown were turned into energy and animal feed.

Heineken Ireland has also removed over four million pieces of plastic packaging and removed PET plastic bottles from its entire product portfolio.

Reusable cups were successfully tested at events over the last couple of years and the company said it plans to remove more than half a million single use plastic cups from events this summer.

The brewer is also funding dedicated "Zero Zone" spaces in retail outlets to help showcase no alcohol and low alcohol options for consumers.

So far, it has created over 1,100 Zero Zones in off licences and retailers across Ireland, which are used to showcase all no alcohol and low alcohol products, rather than just its brands, which further underscores the brewer's commitment to the promotion of moderation.

Draught Heineken 0.0 is now also available in over 2,200 bars and restaurants across Ireland, with continued expansion to a further 700 outlets this year.

Barbara-Anne Richardson, Heineken Ireland's Sustainability and Public Affairs Manager, said that while 2021 continued to pose significant challenges for the drinks and hospitality industry, the company continued to make substantial progress in its sustainability initiatives and in setting ambitious environmental goals for the future.

She said the company succeeded in its 2021 ambition to remove over four million pieces of plastic packaging from its portfolio and are working towards removing half a million single use plastic cups from a range of events this summer.

"Guided by our award-winning Brewing a Better World sustainability strategy, at Heineken Ireland we are committed to industry leading sustainability and moving towards a circular economy," she said.

"From removing plastic, to recycling carbon dioxide and leading the market in moderation, we are incredibly proud of our 2021 results and look forward to raising our ambitions even further in 2022 and beyond," she added.