Bill Sheehan (zerowaste@grrn.org)
Thu, 21 Jan 1999 11:19:29 -0500

For Release 12:00 Noon (PDT)
January 21, 1999
(Contacts at end)


LOS ANGELES, CA (January 21, 1999) -- The
Miller Brewing Company's new plastic beer
bottle being test marketed in Los Angeles
and five other markets could devastate
plastics recycling, public officials and the
GrassRoots Recycling Network said today.
Miller is the first brewer to introduce a
plastic beer bottle in the U.S.

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Ruth
Galanter announced at a noon press
conference today in the Council Press Room
behind Room 300 in City Hall that she will
introduce a resolution Friday. The
resolution for action by the City Council
calls on Miller to take responsibility for
making its new package compatible with the
City's recycling program before introducing
it more widely. Officials from the City of
Madison WI, and the City of San Diego CA,
are also contacting Miller to urge the
company to address the bottle's negative
impacts on recycling before it is introduced

"Miller's plastic beer bottle jeopardizes
plastics recycling in Los Angeles and across
the country," Rick Best, chair of the
GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) and
policy director of Californians Against
Waste, said. "Miller's actions make it
clear that the environment and recycling are
taking a back seat to marketing

"Miller must make sure its bottle is
compatible with our recycling systems,
before it is introduced nationally," Best

The GrassRoots Recycling Network called on
Miller Brewing Company today to make the
following commitments before rolling out the
bottle nationwide:

* Ensure that the Miller bottle is
compatible with current PET recycling.
* Ensure that the Miller bottle will not
increase recycling costs for local
governments and recyclers.
* Use at least 25 percent recycled content
in all bottles.

"Plastics recycling is in a downward
spiral," George Dreckmann, recycling
coordinator for the City of Madison,
Wisconsin, said. "Miller's bottle will only
make things worse, unless the company takes
responsibility for its new bottle."

"Miller should buy back its used plastic
beer bottles at a price that covers the cost
of processing them," Dreckmann said. "Miller
should also help research and develop
recycling systems to handle its new bottle
and incorporate recycled content into the
bottles themselves."

"The Miller plastic beer bottle's amber
tint, new interior barrier material, and
metal cap and label make it incompatible
with today's plastics recycling stream,"
Best said. Best explained that these
elements increase costs for plastics
recycling and cause such serious
contamination that recyclers who handle the
Miller bottle will not be able to sell their
reclaimed plastic to high value markets.
Since most plastics recyclers are struggling
already, this combination of increased costs
and lost revenues could literally drive them
out of business.

"It will be local governments and
taxpayers who pay the higher costs for
recycling or disposing of unmarketable
material," Best said.


A 4-page Fact Sheet on the Miller Plastic
Beer Bottle is on the GrassRoots Recycling
Network's web site at http://www.grrn.org
under WasteMakers.

Bill Sheehan (706) 613-7121 (GrassRoots Recycling Network)
Rick Best (916) 443-5422 (GrassRoots Recycling Network)
Resa Dimino (718) 885-9093 (GrassRoots Recycling Network)
Niki Tenant (213) 485-3357 (Galanter)