[GRRN] MILLER BEER BOTTLE - LA Times story 1/22/99

Bill Sheehan (zerowaste@grrn.org)
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 09:27:26 -0500

[From today's Los Angeles Times -- January 22, 1999]


LOS ANGELES--Councilwoman Ruth Galanter asked her
colleagues and area residents Thursday to protest plastic beer
bottles being test-marketed in Los Angeles, charging they
are not recyclable.

In November, Miller Brewing Co. became the first major
brewery in the country to sell beer in plastic bottles with its
Miller Genuine Draft, Miller Lite and Icehouse products.
Although the bottle is mostly made from the same kind of
plastic used in soda bottles, its color and design could create
problems for recycling plants, said Rick Best, policy director
for Californians Against Waste and chairman of GrassRoots
Recycling Network.

"We don't want these bottles, and you shouldn't either,"
Galanter told a room full of reporters at City Hall.

To ease market acceptance, Miller uses an aluminum cap and
metalized labels, similar to those used on their glass bottles.
A barrier layer allows a four-month shelf life by ensuring
little oxygen enters the bottle. The Miller Lite and Icehouse
bottles are amber-tinted.

Best said all those features make the bottles incompatible
with current recycling systems. Sorting the new Miller beer
bottles from other plastic containers will cost taxpayers and
recyclers more money, he added.

"People are going to try to recycle these bottles, and
recyclers won't know what to do with them, so they'll be
tossed out," Best said.

Officials for Miller Brewing Co. admit to problems with the
experimental bottle, but say they are working out the kinks.
Alternatives to the aluminum caps are being sought, but the
plastic bottle is recyclable, said Scott Bussen, a company

The bottle's manufacturer, Continental PET, will take the
amber-colored containers back from recyclers for now,
Bussen said.

"I think anyone who has worked with us on the recycling
front knows we have a long record of being responsible,"
Bussen said. "We just don't understand why Los Angeles
chose to say this about us rather than working with us to
develop the best options possible."