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Packaging, reuse and recycling

USA: Eliminating unnecessary packaging in the USA

Worker carying Miller Genuine Draft

MillerCoors aims to get rid of unnecessary packaging materials and use lighter weight materials. Over the year the company eliminated over 3 million kg of packaging, equivalent to the weight of nearly 43,000 full kegs of beer.

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Colombia: 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.

Poland: Encouraging consumers to recycle

Hand holding a crushed can

In a joint programme with Biedronka – the largest and fastest growing retailer in Poland – Kompania Piwowarska is working to increase consumer awareness of environmental issues and to promote the segregation and recycling of aluminium and glass packaging.

Implemented at 15 Biedronka outlets in 14 Polish towns, the programme has educated shoppers about their environmental impact and given consumers incentives for returning empy cans and bottles. For every five glass or aluminium containers a shopper returned, for example, they received a handy reusable eco-bag.

Over 10,000 eco-bags were given away in return for more than 10 tonnes of recycled glass and 13,000 aluminium cans weighing 300kg.

Netherlands: Lighter tops for Grolsch bottles

Man showing a new Grolsch bottle to a colleague

Famous for minimising its impact on the environment, Royal Grolsch is continuously making efforts to design sustainable, lightweight packaging, to reuse bottles and to encourage recycling.

In October 2012, the company changed its iconic swing-top bottle for a lighter version for all its returnable bottles. The new bottles are 17% lighter and contain 19% less steel, saving over 100 tonnes of steel a year and also cutting transport costs.

Zimbabwe: Recycling packaging

Workers at a recycling plant

In partnership with local municipalities, a local entrepreneur and the NGO, Environment Africa, Delta Corporation Ltd. in Zimbabwe is part of a packaging recycling project in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls that also engages the public.

In Victoria Falls, local people were paid for collecting of 80 tonnes of cans, 60 tonnes of glass and five tonnes of PET which could then be processed and sold.

A can crusher was designed to make the transport of cans more effective and environmentally friendly. Some of the cans are used as land decorations or waste bins.