News The Can Topper Recycling Dilemma – Not Always Recyclable

Do you know where your plastic can toppers end up?

It is estimated that the brewing industry uses over a billion plastic can toppers a year. And although they are listed as “100% recyclable,” in many cases they are not, according to an article from WBRU News.

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The problem lies in the sorting of recyclable materials. Toppers are flat, so in many recycling facilities they get sorted out with paper products. Because of this, they not only skip the process of being recycled along with other plastics, but they contaminate the purity of paper products for recycling.

A Massachusetts company, GreenLabs Recycling has started a program in partnership with a number of Boston-area breweries where they pick up the plastic toppers at designated drop-off sites and return them to the breweries for reuse or take them to a special processor which sorts them into the plastics recycling stream. That recycled plastic then goes on to be made into laundry detergent jugs, Adirondack chairs and other items.

With the help of craft beer consumers, almost 50% are coming back to the breweries of which 30% of that 50% are being reused.

Full story here.

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