Started in 1970, Earth Day is celebrated annually on April 22 to support and celebrate environmental protection. This year, Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, is focused on mobilizing the world to end plastic pollution. As a company that’s committed to Brewing a Better World, HEINEKEN USA is all about global action for good. But we’d also encourage you to focus on all materials -- not just plastic. After all, there are so many different materials to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Let’s Talk Materials.
We should all think about ways to reduce the amount of materials we use (for example, less packaging on food in shops) and to reuse things instead of throwing them away (reusing carrier bags at the grocery store). If we can't reduce or reuse, recycling is the way to go. Plastic, aluminum, paper, and glass are some of the most commonly recycled materials. And we love any waste that avoids the landfill and is reclaimed for new uses!
HEINEKEN products clearly encompass several materials – including cardboard, glass and aluminum – and we’re always looking for ways to reduce the amount of overall materials we use and increase our use of recyclable and recycled materials. We know we can’t change the world – and recycling - alone. That’s why we’re members of The Recycling Partnership (read more below!) and are part of the Glass Recycling Coalition.
However, we’re witnessing startling recycling trends, particularly as it relates to glass. We’re seeing less demand for recycled glass and several cities are suspending their glass recycling. Glass has always been hard to find markets for, but with local glass disposal sites closing, there are no markets at all. This leaves glass headed for landfills, where its many alternate uses are never realized.
The uses for reclaimed glass are endless. In fact, glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity. That’s why Heineken subsidiary, DB Export, transformed glass into sand.
In 2017, DB Export partnered with New Zealand’s largest recycler, Visy, to turn used beer bottles into two types of sand - a fine grade type that can be used to make golf bunkers and pipe bedding and a coarser type that is used for a sustainable concrete mix, as well as in road and construction projects nationwide. The sand was also used to preserve some of New Zealand’s most beautiful beaches where sand is taken and used for things like construction and pharmaceuticals. Over 500,000 used bottles were converted into 104 tons of sand substitute to help preserve these beautiful landscapes.
Joining The Recycling Partnership
Here in the U.S., recycling rates remain low compared to other parts of the world but we’re looking to change that. That’s why HEINEKEN USA was the first brewer to join The Recycling Partnership – a relationship that is still going strong.
The Recycling Partnership uses a public-private partnership approach, working with local authorities to support their community recycling programs. The long-term vision of the Partnership is to transform recycling in 200 US cities, reach 10 million households and divert more than 4 million tons of packaging from landfills. For Earth Day, The Recycling Partnership has developed a top 10 recycling myths flyer to help communities learn how easy it is to recycle the right way.
Ensuring HEINEKEN products are consumed responsibly throughout their lifecycle is an important part of our Brewing a Better World strategy.
This Earth Day, please remember to do your part and participate in the largest civic-focused day of action in the world. For more information, click here: https://www.earthday.org/earthday/.