PR / Vermont (Earth Day, 2022) — The successful program that rescued and reused 10,000 can carriers during a 2-month pilot in Metro Burlington late last year will soon expand throughout Vermont. Dubbed the Reusiverse by its creators, Reusable Solutions founder Ben Kogan and EcoFriendlyBeer.com founder Rob Vandenabeele, the popular reduce-reuse-recycle model will be implemented at dozens of additional taproom and retail locations starting on Earth Day.
The expansion was made possible through a collaboration involving logistical support from the Vermont Brewers Association (VBA) and craft distributor Vermont Beer Shepherd, along with fiscal sponsorship from Lawson’s Finest Liquids and solar energy provider SunCommon. The VBA 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.
The expansion effort will build on notable and measurable outcomes from the recent pilot, including a popular take-back program that raised consumer awareness, inspired thousands to save and return their carriers, and decreased delivery vehicle emissions because much of the difficult-to-recycle plastic packaging was instead reused. The environmentally conscious breweries that chose to reuse also decreased or eliminated their packaging costs at a time when manufacturers have imposed price hikes.
The initiative’s interactive map, which enables consumers to find their nearest take-back location, will soon be populated with dozens of new taproom and retail locations. By accessing the map’s list feature and clicking on an individual location, consumers can learn more about what each business does with its collected carriers: reuse them, donate them, or properly recycle them.
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. Though difficult to calculate with precise figures, creating a market for reusing carriers prevents unnecessary energy use, decreases GHG emissions, and spares wildlife harm from entanglement or microplastic ingestion that sometimes occurs when plastic packaging is improperly disposed of.
Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier, Stowe Public House & Bottle Shop, Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury and City Market stores in Burlington have recently been added as verified collection locations, as have Meuleman’s Craft Draughts in Rawsonville and Jake’s Market locations in Burlington and Quechee. 14th Star Brewing in St. Albans is the newest brewery to join the effort. Consumers are encouraged to weigh in on the Vermont Craft Beer Fans group page about where they’d like some of the up-to-50 new take-back venues to be located. Retailers and breweries interested in joining the expanded state-wide effort should contact Ben@ReusableSolutions.co.
Featured image courtesy of Leizl Cosentino. Sign design by Philip Ayers.
This press release should not be mistaken as an endorsement of plastic can carriers, which manufacturers disingenuously promote as “100% recyclable.” While true in theory, such marketing claims are anything but true in reality. Because they are incompatible with standard curbside recycling programs in the U.S., billions of plastic can carriers end up in the waste stream annually. This fact is the motivation for the Can Carrier Reuse & Recycling Initiative, which recognizes the unsustainable nature of plastic packaging within the beverage industry and is trying to mitigate the environmental harm caused by it.
Reusable Solutions is an outreach organization that focuses on eradicating single-use plastic and fighting climate change. Its founder believes that innovative business and smart environmental policy are the most effective means to transition from a linear to a circular economy. Part of this transition is connecting reusable and renewable businesses with consumers through a community-based, grassroots process.
The EcoFriendlyBeer.com website was founded in early 2020 to spur discussion and share insights on how the craft brewing industry and its consumers can better protect our Earth, the only planet with craft beer. Its founder is currently enrolled in the Sustainability Studies program at Harvard Extension School and offers consulting for the craft beverage industry.
The Vermont Brewers Association was founded in 1995 to promote and strengthen the culture of craft brewing in Vermont through marketing, education and advocacy for Vermont made beer. Wherever you go in Vermont, you’ll find different styles, different tastes, and a common bond. And with every new taste, you’ll get to know the flavor of our state a little better. From the brewers who led the way, establishing our craft, to a new generation of taprooms waiting to be discovered.
Founded in 2008, Lawson’s Finest Liquids crafts exceptionally fresh, high-quality, flavorful beers. The brewery is a values-driven business with a commitment to excellence, innovation, sustainability and fun – supporting healthy, vibrant communities through its Social Impact Program. In 2018, Lawson’s Finest opened its doors to the public, welcoming fans to a popular destination brewery, taproom and retail location in central Vermont’s Mad River Valley town of Waitsfield.
SunCommon is a Certified B Corp with a mission to make clean, renewable energy simple and affordable. They believe that everyone has the right to a healthy environment and brighter future – and renewable energy is where it starts. Serving Vermont and New York, they offer options for home solar, community solar, and battery storage.
Based in Waterbury, VT Beer Shepherd is a family owned and operated distribution company focused on the independent producer. We do distribution differently, and that starts with the quality of our brands. We have partnered exclusively with independent producers who make fresh, intentional, and well-crafted beverages.