BEVERAGE INDUSTRY WASTE MANAGEMENT

The beverage industry possesses great potential to reduce waste and close the recycling loop.  A commitment to recycling and waste reduction provides financial and environmental benefits.

The EPA recognizes businesses as partners in waste reduction and recycling efforts.  This partnering program, called WasteWise, encourages businesses and organizations to practice responsibility with waste.  Partners can receive help with outreach, industry resources, and nationwide recognition for their efforts.

PREVENT BEVERAGE CONTAINER WASTE

Waste prevention or reduction is the most efficient way of managing waste.  Beverage companies committed to waste prevention have implemented many practices, such as:

- Producing lightweight plastic, glass, and aluminum containers

- Eliminating the extra packaging around the base of plastic liter containers

- Switching the holding material for fountain soda dispensers

- Switching to lighter weight corrugated packages and cartons

- Using plastic cases as opposed to corrugated shipping boxes

- Reusing waste materials as feedstock for plastic pallet production

- Developing a glove reuse system instead of disposing gloves daily

- Measuring and tracking waste during production

- Refurbishing vending machines instead of disposing of them

RECYCLING COMMITMENTS

Beverage industry partners maintain a commitment to start, expand, or continuously improve recycling programs within their companies. These commitments may involve beginning a new program, adding materials to a currently existing program, or increasing community outreach and education. 

Beverage industry partners have specifically committed to:

- Recycling all six-pack rings

- Collecting, baling, and recycling all corrugated cardboard

- Establishing a buy-back container program to promote recycling to customers

- Recycle all plastic shrink wrap, drums, and strapping

CLOSING THE RECYCLING LOOP

Recycling does not end with diverting waste from landfills.  Creating a market for materials made with recycled content ensures the sustainability of recycling.  Beverage companies can choose to include more recycled content in the materials they produce and purchase materials made with recycled content.  Sample efforts include:

- Increasing the amount of recycled glass content

- Increasing the amount of recycled material in cardboard

- Increasing the amount of recycled plastic content in PET (plastic) containers

INDUSTRY PROGRESS

Many large beverage corporations have committed to recycling and waste reduction, including RC Bottling, Anheuser-Busch, Coors Brewing, National Soft Drink Association, Coca-Cola, Trinity Springs, and others.

By transferring their telephone directory from paper to their local intranet, Anheuser-Busch diverted approximately 10.3 tons of paper from waste and saved nearly $140,000.

Fetzer Vineyards, by composting grape pulp and skin, leftover from processing, and yard trimmings, saved nearly 9 tons of waste.

The Coca-Cola Company continues to increase its recycling efforts. At least three out of four plastic beverage containers contain 10 percent recycled material.  The company also transmits its newsletter electronically, saving over 3,000 pieces of paper a week.

Honest Tea, an organic beverage company, even incorporated recycling in its facility, using recycled glass for kitchen counters, bamboo flooring, and reclaimed brick.  The company developed a plastic beverage container that is 22 percent lighter than other types, cutting down on waste and making transport more efficient. Honest Tea regularly participates in community outreach and education programs, like teaching kids about diverting drink pouches from the waste stream.

 

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