Research has told us that in the majority of cases, returnable bottles are the most environmentally-friendly way to package our products. This year 52% of our bottles and kegs were returnable, consistent with last year.
This year 52% of our beer was sold in returnable packaging
Over the last year, Grolsch conducted a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) study which compared the environmental impact of six different packaging types. The study found that when comparing different packaging across a range of factors (such as climate change, human toxicity and water depletion), its most sustainable packaging type was the returnable 45cl swing-top bottle. This has been used to inform future packaging decisions.
Reducing our packaging
While ensuring that our bottles are strong enough to withstand the rigours of distribution, we also seek to reduce their weight where appropriate. Through using less packaging, we reduce the carbon emissions associated with both the production and transportation of our products.
Over the last year in South Africa, ABI (the soft drinks division of SAB (Pty) Ltd) has reduced the material used to manufacture PET bottles by 25%. This has been achieved by changing the design of preforms which are used to produce the bottles. In Colombia, Bavaria has completed light-weighting projects of bottles, labels and crowns over the last 12 months. For example, it reduced the weight of 330ml returnable green glass bottles by 22% from 270g to 210g. Through these projects, Bavaria will make an estimated annual saving of US$2.5 million.
Where we use non-returnable packaging we work to encourage consumers to recycle our packaging. Over the last year in Hungary, Dreher has worked through the Association of Hungarian Brewers to introduce aluminium can recycling machines in over 160 supermarkets with a communication campaign to raise awareness of recycling and provide information on the recycling machines.
In Uganda, our bottled water business, Rwenzori, recently launched a plastic waste collection centre. The centre receives approximately 12 tonnes of plastic every day which is sorted, processed and then sold to local businesses to be recycled. As well as recycling, the centre also aims to raise awareness of plastic waste management. To date, approximately 5,000 people have attended workshops in Kampala and surrounding areas.
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