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Turning bottles into bricks and roads

Bottles of Aguila on a wall

To reduce the environmental impact of its packaging, Bavaria sells 85% of its beer in returnable bottles. However, in distant parts of Colombia such as the Amazon region, the high cost of transport means that many of these bottles never actually return.

To tackle this issue, Bavaria has started investigating whether its bottles can be converted into sand for making bricks and building roads. The business is working in partnership with a local recycling group, Leticia, which is willing to own the idea and develop it further. Following the initial phase of coaching and mentoring, and capital investment of over US$30,000, the plan was successfully implemented. Today, Leticia is able to process 50 tonnes of glass per month – 65% of the total it receives from Bavaria as non-returnable bottles.

Partnerships to address water issues

Addresing water issues in Columbia

To address water risk in Colombia, Bavaria works in close partnership with water experts and NGOs such as the Water Fund for Life and Sustainability, the German development agency, GIZ, and Corponor, the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Northeast Frontier, to protect river basins, natural parks and local watersheds.

In co-operation with the Water Fund for Life and Sustainability, Bavaria has helped to protect the upper basin of the Causa River. The project has included constructing 12 hectares of protein banks for sustainable cattle farming and isolating 21 hectares to assist natural regeneration. The planting of 6,000 trees has benefited 40 families in the Nasa ethnic group.

Together with GIZ and Corponor, Bavaria has developed social strategies to support the designation of the San Turbán Paramo as a Protected Natural Park.

Bavaria is also one of founding members of the private/public/non-profit sector Aqua Somos Alliance established in 2009 to protect Colombia's ecosystems. Last year the Alliance completed a pilot for restoration projects in the Chisacá River basin near Bogota which helped to identify areas for conservation, restoration, recovery and sustainable use.