Small brewers: canned beers and recycling

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by MNAle, Nov 14, 2021.

  1. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,223) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    Most small brewers who can their beers (and many mid-sized brewers with their special releases) use those shrink-wrap or stick-on plastic labels for their cans and crowlers.

    My local recycling center instructs us to remove those before recycling the cans. They say it screws up the recycling somehow (IDK if it messes with the equipment or contaminates the aluminum during the process).

    So, my questions:
    1. Do you guys make the effort to peel these labels off the cans before recycling?
    2. Should this style of packaging be discouraged?
    3. Or, is my recycling center full of horse hockey?
     
  2. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,654) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    I donate mine to the Animal Shelter who sell them to the Tin Man, whoever that is.
     
  3. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,093) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    That's the first I've heard that one. Seems to me they'd burn off during the melting process, no? And, what about the ink/paint on the printed cans? Does that have an effect at all? @cavedave ?
     
  4. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,183) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    @MNAle -- I hadn't heard of this with the labels, and I definitely get those style cans now and then.

    I'll have to look into what our service suggests. We have Waste Management, who is yours?

    Also, since I've never tried, how difficult is it to peel off those labels?
     
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  5. Bigrock

    Bigrock Initiate (145) Feb 4, 2013 Texas

    Ok, somebody has to be that guy and I'll volunteer.
    Seems that they want aluminum clean before it is melted. Looks like the plastic would screw up the shredders.

     
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  6. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,223) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    My recycling is a local company that does do mixed recycling.

    They do come off with just a bit of effort.
     
  7. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,183) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Wonder what they're made of, and are they recyclable on their own?
     
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  8. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,046) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    I never got a satisfactory answer when I questioned the govt. folks who are supposed to have the answers. The only thing I know is that other metals, such as iron, are a major problem in secondary smelting of aluminum (and aluminum in other metals' smelters). And the plastic on the cans is a major pollution problem for workers in the secondary smelting plants. As for how much plastic, if any, is a problem for the aluminum itself, like I said, never got a good answer when I was in the business.

    One thing I can tell you is- don't believe anything an electronics recycler or plastics recycler tells you about the recycling programs for those products. I presently do not discard nor recycle plastics or electronics, I compact and store all plastic in the garage, and disassemble electronics myself for recyclable parts.

    Wish I had better/more info.
     
  9. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,317) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    I do (but sometimes it's more of a "tick" kinda thing, I used to do it to the labels on bottled beer while sitting at a bar, too).
    Yeah, that's what I've assumed - BUT burning plastic can't be a good thing, either.

    Those heavy plastic 4- and 6-pack holders, mostly (all?) manufactured by PAKTECH also annoy me. They claim to be "RECYCLABLE" but, that's the catch to that word - they "can" be recycled but most community recycling programs don't/can't do it. The manufacturer has a website with locations (mostly breweries) that will accept them. https://paktech-opi.com/recycling-drop-off/ But, c'mon... nearest one to me (in NJ, most populous state in the US) is at least 20 miles away. And I've got a full beer case full of 'em (and working on #2).

    I swear when they first showed up one local brewer said he'd pay 5¢ for ones of his color. "I'M RICH!" I thought, but I don't think that deal lasted long.
     
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  10. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,223) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    Yeah, I have a large stack of those PAKTECH holders. Recyclers won't take 'em. I checked once for the nearest brewer that would accept them, and found out they quit taking them. So, they just stack up.
     
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  11. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,093) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    The big thing is that they have to cleaned before being reused. Even if we drop one on the floor we have to clean it. It becomes either a minor pain in the ass to be dealt with constantly, or piled up until it becomes a project worthy of someones time. Mostly they pile up.
     
  12. BigIronH

    BigIronH Savant (956) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
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    Here in Michigan the return machine crunches it all up in a bin and it goes God knows where. Label and all.
     
  13. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (504) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    In general, a deposit law (states noted on the label or lid) improves the odds that your deposit bottles and cans get correct handling. Unfortunately, craft brewing isn't a very eco-friendly industry. I have a basement with clean growlers ready to fill, if I could only find the products on tap that I'd like to fill them with. Now if we could get widespread utilization of reusable deposit bottles . . . .
     
  14. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,203) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
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    Indeed.

    I found a different label (same year, different beer style) under this one:

    [​IMG]

    Things that make you go hmm?

    This is another, new (to me at least) feature on some of the shrink-arounds for the silver bullet style cans — even easier than peeling:

    [​IMG]

    I hope that these catch on with the other, smaller scale breweries that I buy from regularly.
     
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  15. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,093) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Probably had some of last years can left over. Did a minor artwork change, and wanted to be consistent, so just ran the old one through the labeler to match the new batch.
     
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  16. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,253) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    It's a PITA to take them back to the store, but the 10-cent deposit here in Michigan passes the recycling issue to someone else. Accumulate enough of them to take in as a large batch is like getting a free 6-pack. :wink:
     
  17. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (5,193) Sep 3, 2007 Texas
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    With those plastic 4 and 6 pack holders, I always give them to a local beer store they reuse them. Most the time, they are still in good enough condition to give to some breweries around town too, I haven't tried to actually put them in the recycle bin though, that just means my back room has a ton of those things I haven't gotten around to "distributing" yet :slight_smile:
     
  18. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,648) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    I wonder about the plastic lining inside the can.
     
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  19. jonphisher

    jonphisher Defender (672) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
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    I always figured this was a concern so any time I have the shrink wrap cans I cut them off, easy as can be. Stickers are a different story I haven’t found an easy way to remove them.

    I’ve had varying levels of success returning paktechs back to breweries.
     
  20. mmmbeerNY

    mmmbeerNY Devotee (463) Mar 5, 2014 New York

    I've been working on cutting down on stuff I buy in plastic packaging, but I'm scared to think about the pile I would have in my garage if I did not throw everything in recycling can
     
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  21. jonphisher

    jonphisher Defender (672) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
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    I’ll shameless plug our grocery moms organic market, looks like their in NY too, I checked before sharing.

    Been shopping there for years now, only place around that tares containers, huge bulk section, including cleaning supplies. This ad brought to you by @jonphisher, carry on.
     
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  22. mmmbeerNY

    mmmbeerNY Devotee (463) Mar 5, 2014 New York

    Thanks for the link. I've always just put them in recycling can, but see a brewery not too far from me, I'll save them up to dropoff sometime
     
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  23. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,046) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    I shop with that in mind also. I reuse as much plastic as possible, but still too much left over. Plastic compacts down to very small size, I hand compact and store all I don't reuse. I put the compacted plastic into other plastic for storage, and put that into cardboard delivery boxes in the corner of the garage. If I live another twenty years (unlikely, but even if) it will not take up more than about ten square feet of space, stacked floor to ceiling. By then existing technology we have will be in use widely, and all our recyclables, and much of our trash, will be converted back to base elements for reuse in industry.
     
  24. LesDewitt4beer

    LesDewitt4beer Savant (906) Jan 25, 2021 Minnesota
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    That's the 1st I've heard of it. It never crossed my mind and I've not asked any individual nor have I researched local recycling centers about different types of plastic. I'm in Plymouth...mixed recycling every 2wks...and I've always gone under the assumption that the recycling contractor/center does all the sorting and such. Never rcv'd a notice about specific items that are rejected/not acceptable other that the list that's printed on the top of the actual recycling bins. However, look closely at the top RH corner of this label. Oliphant wants you to have a collectable peel-off sticker/label or they have been privy to this info for quite some time. Holy crap. I guess I'll just start removing labels when I CAN do it. Very interesting. I rest my case (of beer). :grin: Cheers to @MNAle
    [​IMG]
     
  25. cyclonece09

    cyclonece09 Poo-Bah (2,305) Aug 5, 2008 Wisconsin
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    The problem with the Pactek is shape. It’s too flat, so it gets mixed with paper too easily. Same reason you shouldn’t crush your cans if you use single stream recycling. Machines need the roundness to separate it past first sort.
     
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  26. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,093) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    I peel some can labels, and restick them. Rub some hot water, fill the can, and let it sit a couple minutes. The hot water loosens the glue, it comes off easy, and helps it stick to the new thing.
     
  27. officerbill

    officerbill Champion (864) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    Apparently it is an issue. From a Craft Brewing Business article on this topic
    Quotes regarding this from Brewers Association reps here https://thetakeout.com/are-shrink-wrapped-beer-cans-recyclable-1832063063

    Same in NY.
    When you use a machine they are crushed, I've been told the machine tracks brands when it scans the barcode. When you go to a redemption center they are supposed to be sorted by distributor

    He's the one who needed a heart :grin:
     
    #27 officerbill, Nov 15, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
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  28. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (504) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    hot water is an eco-(logical/nomic) cost itself (unless you have a hot springs handy).
     
  29. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,093) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    The world is an imperfect place.
     
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  30. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,317) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    So's beer.:wink:
     
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  31. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,317) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Tin? I sell mine to the brothers who run the scrap yard, Al & Lou Minum.
     
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  32. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,654) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    I think they just call him the Tin Man. He goes by the Shelter once a month to pick up the donated cans. Most of the workers there are volunteers and I think that's his way of helping out by saving them a trip to the scarp yard.
     
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  33. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Devotee (497) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois
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    Our recycling co (Waste Management) hasn't given specific guidance on labels. They don't like the plastic holders (or any sort of "thin" plastic/metal). There has been a big push on limiting anything that can contaminate the aluminum batch. From the little research I did, it seems like paper labels, like those used on glass bottles, are OK since they'll burn up. Unfortunately, very few breweries use those types of labels on cans. Anything plastic or metallic could pose problems, so I do the following in an effort to keep them out of the recycling bin:

    I peel them off and my kids use them to clean cat hair off the rugs, like a lint roller. It got to the point earlier this year where my kids were asking me to drink more just so they could have another "sticker" for the rug. I also discovered that not all cans/labels are created equal. Freaking Half Acre labels never come off cleanly, only 10-20% of the adhesive comes off the can, making the peeled label useless. If the can is shrink-wrapped, I'll tear the plastic off before the can goes into the bin.
     
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  34. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Devotee (497) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois
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    I hate those too. A place near me started using cardboard can holders:
    [​IMG]
    I assume that these are more easily recyclable than the Paktech holders. To date, I haven’t had any problems with cans slipping out while carrying these around.
     
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  35. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,391) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
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    Burial uses these kinds of sleeves. The first and only time I'd seen it until now
     
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  36. ChicagoJ

    ChicagoJ Meyvn (1,421) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois

    Revolution Brewing offered $1-2 credit for a return of 1-2 to go items in February 2020.

    https://twitter.com/revbrewchicago/status/1230191756806934528

    COVID hit a month later, and haven't seen it since, but perhaps it will come back. Perhaps the supply chain hits were already happening 3-6 months into COVID (Fall 2019 outbreak in China), perhaps part altruistic.

    This, one of my local shops (Beer on the Wall), so I return them after a have a few. Perhaps a MN store will take them off your hands @MNAle .

    So cool to get the kids involved with recycling (and cleaning)! No cats for me, but could use as a lint roller post laundry.

    I'm not sure what, if anything, the City of Chicago actually recycles from the recycle bin, but I still separate in the hope it actually does some good.
     
  37. hbbeeremptor

    hbbeeremptor Aspirant (299) Aug 12, 2018 California
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    Seems to be a bit of a mixed bag. I've been recycling my cans for years and my local recycle place makes no mention of whether or not to remove the stickers/sleeves. Originally, I didn't bother. Then I did remove them for a time because I heard it was what you're supposed to do (not from official channels, just hearsay online). Then I stopped because of this shit:
    If my local recycling place makes no mention of it I have to assume it's either not a significant issue or they (or the entities they deliver it to for processing) have the means to remove that stuff.

    Then again, they specify uncrushed cans (to which I conform) and I've seen dudes at the center with loads of crushed ones. So I don't know what the fuck to think.
     
  38. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (504) Feb 2, 2015 New York

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  39. ChicagoJ

    ChicagoJ Meyvn (1,421) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois

    That means companies need to order over 1 million cans from a run to meet their minimum.

    I saw a truckload of cans at Revolution (they do not use Ball) for the Fistmas seasonal. There is no way they would be able to meet the demand for any of their single brand products beyond Anti-Hero, and they are a Top 50 brewery. Same with Half Acre (Daisy Cutter).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Beachwood uses (perhaps past tense soon) Ball for their Amalgamator cans, not sure what they are going to do. Even if you sell 1M cans, you need to take massive space to store that amount of cans.
     
  40. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (504) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    A minimum order of one million cans is more than 3000 barrels. It probably doesn't make sense to order cans in those quantities for a brand unless it sells well over 10000 barrels a year. This should result in a less cluttered beer shelf at the store. Is Ball's strategy to strangle the canned beer market, and buy the small scale canning line manufacturers at bargain prices?
     
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