- Any brewery packaging beer in rigid plastic can carriers or plastic film rings should have a formal take-back program acknowledging that they are NOT curbside recyclable and encouraging consumers to return them to a brewery for re-use or proper recycling.
- A successful program will actively promote its efforts through social media posts and with a visible sign or collection bin in the taproom. Above and beyond would be a blog post or website page that explains the brewery’s take-back policy and its commitment to doing right by the environment.
- Breweries planning to re-use carriers should provide specific details about their take-back policy, i.e. “we accept carriers in good condition, only 4-packs, of certain color(s), free of stickers, etc.
- Some breweries have even offered consumer incentives similar to a bottle deposit scheme for their carrier take-back programs, such as refunding them 5 cents per carrier.
- Others have partnered with nearby liquor stores or restaurants who save can carriers and return them to the brewery for re-use.
- Collected carriers intended for re-use should be properly cleaned and sanitized in a standard commercial dishwasher or with an antibacterial detergent solution in a utility sink.
- Breweries that don’t re-use should still offer a take-back program, and initiate a donation program that shares their collected carriers with neighboring breweries that do re-use.
- Excess or damaged can carriers and rings should be sent for proper recycling through one of these channels:
- If in Metro Boston, collaborate with one of the 4 breweries participating in the pilot collection program with GreenLabs Recycling.
- Make an arrangement with its packaging provider to accept specified quantities of carriers to take back to its warehouse and eventually be delivered to a recycling processor.
- Collect a gaylord box full (approximately 12,000) and deliver it to a recycling processor such as Stockbridge Plastics through prior arrangement.
- Flimsy film six-pack rings can be mailed back to the manufacturer through the free RingRecycleMe program.
- Contact Rob at MassBrewBros@gmail.com or EcoFriendlyBeerDrinker@gmail.com for help with logistics in arranging a pickup or drop off, finding a recycling processor, establishing a donation program with nearby breweries, or otherwise collaborating with other breweries on logistical solutions.
- Breweries should record/estimate the amount of carriers they reuse (and the corresponding savings in packaging expense) and recycle annually for data collection and promotional purposes.
Related: Can Carrier Recycling Fact Sheet
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I work for a brewery/winery in Missouri. I do the major recycling of spent grain, cardboard, aluminum and glass and am looking for a place to recycle our plastic 6 and 4 pack carriers. If there is a national access list, please share. My wife also creates an Earth Day video showcase for the public school system-
see: mora.org ( Missouri Recycling Association) If you have any short videos please direct us to them.
Thank you! What a great organization!
Thanksfor working so hard at trying to recycle your waste, it’s a shame it has to be so hard. Assuming you are talking about PakTechs or other HDPE #2 plastic, it can be tricky. You can try their recycling locations map, but I have found it to be pretty unreliable. That said, they are relatively durable and many breweries are cleaning and reusing them, and saving money on their packaging cost. If you’re looking for the old school plastic film 6-pack rings, those can be recycled at anyplace that accepts plastic film, like a grocery store that collects plastic bags for recycling. Best of luck, and don’t be afraid to reach back out with more questions. Cheers