Millions of plastic can carriers end up in the hands of Vermont’s craft beer drinkers each year, with most being tossed into single-stream recycling bins because manufacturers market them as “100% recyclable.”
What craft beverage producers, recycling companies, and some consumers have come to realize is that while such marketing claims may be true in theory they don’t always hold up in reality.
But in 2021 three earth-friendly organizations, Eco-Friendly Beer, Reusable Solutions and Casella Waste Solutions have joined forces with Vermont breweries and cideries on a new pilot program to make for a better world…
Known as the Vermont Plastic Can Carrier Reuse & Recycle Initiative, its goal was to reduce the need for new carriers by offering taproom take-back programs that allow the ones already in circulation to be used over and over again.
That initiative proved wildly successful. And after rescuing and reusing 10,000 can carriers during a 2-month pilot in Metro Burlington late last year, that program has expanded to include craft breweries all over Vermont.
The expansion was made possible through a collaboration involving logistical support from the Vermont Brewers Association and craft distributor Vermont Beer Shepherd, along with fiscal sponsorship from Lawson’s Finest Liquids and solar energy provider SunCommon.
The Vermont Brewers Association has taken an active role in recruitment and communications with its member breweries, Beer Shepherd will help get collected carriers delivered to breweries that want to reuse them, and both Lawson’s and SunCommon have provided funding to ensure that dozens more breweries can be added to an expanding state-wide infrastructure.
With the world’s proliferation of plastic production expected to continue, the importance of establishing successful reuse schemes to combat single-use plastic’s environmental impact has never been greater and the Vermont brewing community’s plastic beer carrier recycling initiative has put an admirable model in place that other states need to follow.
Dubbed the Reusiverse by its creators, Reusable Solutions founder Ben Kogan and EcoFriendlyBeer.com founder Rob Vandenabeele, the popular reduce-reuse-recycle model was implemented at dozens of new craft beer taproom and retail locations throughout Vermont on Earth Day.
American Craft Beer applauds this amazing effort, its creators and everybody involved.
(All image credits: Eco-Friendly Beer Drinker)