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Breweries make push to recycle those plastic beer can carriers

beer carrier
Posted at 9:16 AM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 12:16:18-04

At Lamplighter Brewery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the only thing they take more pride in than the beer they produce here is the packaging each pint of craft ale goes out it.

But this brewery and many others across the country are discovering those plastic tops use to hold packs of beer together aren't actually being recycled by recycling companies.

Cayla Marvil is the co-founder of Lamplighter, which produces about 186,000 gallons of beer a year. Most of it ends up being sold directly to customers, each adorned with a plastic top carrier.

Those tops, used at breweries nationwide, are 100 percent recyclable. Millions of them are produced and used nationwide each year.

"They just end up in landfills and not recycled at all which is devastating right because we assumed they were recyclable the whole time," Marvile said.

But there are efforts underway to make sure those plastic tops actually get recycled

Rob Vandenabeele, with the group EcoFriendly Beer, is helping breweries like Lamplighter and four others in the Boston area deploy new recycling pilot programs. Customers can now bring those plastic tops right back to the brewery.

They will then be delivered directly to GreenLabs Recycling, a company that recycles biomedical plastics.

"You can’t throw it in your curbside recycling bin and expect it to get properly sorted and actually recycled, which is a real issue," Vandenabeele noted.

Aside from the environmental impact, recycling these beer tops can be good for business. Smaller breweries can reuse the plastic carriers which saves money over the long term.

"When consumers know, they want to do the right thing," Vandenabeele said.