[GRRN] Plastic Beer Bottle Update

RecycleWorlds (anderson@msn.fullfeed.com)
Mon, 15 Mar 1999 11:11:20 -0600

By way of an update on further public developments in plastic beer


Since our Plastic Beer Bottle Working Paper in January (for a copy send
us an email message indicating whether you use Word or WordPerfect),
Continental PET Technologies has completed its first round of commercial
testing of the plastic bottle it has manufactured for Miller Beer and
reported the results of those tests to the Plastic Redesign Project (PRP)
and to Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR). We are
evaluating that information along with our technical consultant now.


Also, MSS has released more detailed information to the PRP on the
results of tests it has run on the cost of autosorting PEN bottles. We are
also evaluating those details.


A-B was scheduled to announce the launch its version of a plastic beer
bottle on February 2nd, but held up doing so, reportedly in response to the
depth of the controversy that unexpectedly greeted Miller's launch four
months earlier. Reports also indicate that A-B will be testing in the near
future a barrier coating from PPG, rather than a multi-layer bottle such as
Miller's, in conjunction with a core layer that contains an oxygen
scavanger (oxygen, which is death to beer's taste, becomes entrained in the
PET bottle wall during molding and migrates into the bottle unless sopped
up by metal salts that scavange the O2). Crown Cork and Seal is
independently evaluating how well the PPG coating can be removed during
processing, but so far has refused to release any details of their testing.

As soon as we have carefully reviewed the supplemental information
built on commercial field testing, we'll report back. The two performance
criteria that we're using are:

1. Does the new package increase handling costs (to sort, ship or
wash) costs; and

2. Do any remaining residual components of the package after normal
processing preclude the reclaimed PET from being used in higher-paying
sheet and bottle markets?

Hopefully, somewhere there are one or more technologies which will be
able to achieve these results to protect the recycling industry. This will
not be easy because, reportedly, the price of the current technologies are
already more than 25 cents per 20 ounce bottle, more than twice the price
of an equivalent glass bottle...and that's before additional technologies
have been added to make it possible to hot fill pasteurized beer (80% of
the beer market).
Peter Anderson
RecycleWorlds Consulting
4513 Vernon Blvd. Ste. 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Phone:(608) 231-1100/Fax: (608) 233-0011