RE: Refillable Bottles

Ferrer, Geraldo (
Tue, 18 May 1999 11:02:01 -0400

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Dear all,
I just want to point to a certain inaccuracy that I see in some messages.
Often, I hear statistics or practices "in Europe". Practices in Europe
(environmentally related or not) change enormously from country to country,
and sometimes within countries (big cities vs. little towns). As an
example, refillable PET is said to be widely used in Europe. I would be
very surprise if this statement were true for more than a handful of

Geraldo Ferrer

<<Geraldo Ferrer>>

-----Original Message-----
From: Pat Franklin []
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 10:28 AM
To: multiple recipients of
Subject: Re: Refillable Bottles

Bill and anyone else interested in REFILLABLE BOTTLES,

This is one of many old emails that I just can't bring
myself to erase.
Every so often I go back into my OLD ones and try to
respond. CRI is very
interested in trying to promote refillable beverage bottles.
There are
other ngo's that are also interested (Institute for Local
Self Reliance to
name one).

The refillable Pet (REFPET) bottle you referred to is also
used widely in
Europe. Regarding your question about market share of
refillable bottles --
approximately 1% of soft drink containers were refillable
bottles in 1997
(mainly small local bottlers who bottle their own brand and
an infinitesimal
number of Coke/Pepsi bottlers who still bottle in
refillables. And then
there are the old fashioned small 8 oz REFILLABLE COKE
bottles that Coke
still makes and sells but does not REFILL.

As for beer, about 3% of beer containers are refillables.
As Bill Carter
said, these are mostly in bottle bill states, particularly
CT - 10%, MA -
16%, NY - 7%, VT - 8%, IA - 11%). A few non bottle bill
states also have a
higher than average refillable market share --- IN - 8%, DE
- 6%, MN - 7%,
and PA - 10%.

Anyone else out there interested in a BRING BACK REFILLABLES

Hope to hear from you Bill.

Pat Franklin

At 02:30 PM 1/21/99 -0600, Bill Carter wrote:
>Just wanted to share my experience of a previous market
"shift" in the
>bottling industry in case it helps enlighten the possible
dimensions of the
>current plastic beer bottle debate.
>In 1986-7, the beer and grocery industries apparently
decided they were
>ready to phase out the returnable beer bottle system, at
least for retail
>sales. The first step was the introduction of a
non-refillable longneck
>look-alike into test markets, including parts of Texas,
starting with
>Budweiser and quickly followed by all major brands that had
>Suddenly there was great consternation in the refilling
system, as
>these look-alike longnecks increasingly sneaked into the
system and
>caused massive breakage and spillage problems and losses.
In a very
>short time, all local grocery outlets had stopped carrying
beer in refillable
>bottles or paying for returned deposit bottles, so
consumers suddenly
>had great difficulty finding beer in returnables or
recovering deposits.
>A handful of independent brewers with refilling systems
toughed it out
>for a while, but they were unwilling to openly go up
against the major
>distributors in an almost certainly futile attempt to roll
back these
>changes. Their returnable longnecks bled away into the
>stream or the garbage.
>As director of Ecology Action in Austin, I could not find
anyone interested
>in waging a campaign on the issue, including fellow board
members of
>the National Recycling Coalition. There just wasn't a
major constituency
>for returnables. We (Ecology Action) profited for a little
while by
>hand-sorting the longnecks we received and providing one of
the few
>reliable sources of refillable bottles to stock the "last
gasp" of the
>operations in the area. I have recently learned that there
is at least one
>regional refiller still operating, supplying beer of
various makes in
>returnable longnecks strictly to the commercial
establishment trade (bars
>& restaurants in San Antonio, possibly elsewhere) where
bulk returns
>free of "fake longnecks" can be assured.
>It is my impression that the beer refilling system was
decimated nationally
>within a short time in the late 80's, except in some
container deposit
>states where the refilling system was well entrenched. I'd
be curious to
>know where beer and/or soda refilling still has any
significant market
>One more item of trivia -- there is a plastic soda bottle
refilling system in
>Mexico, using very heavy-duty plastic bottles. And of
course, glass soda
>and beer bottle refilling is still alive and well there,
including clear Corona
>bottles among other brands that have never been refillable
in the US.
>Bill Carter, Program Specialist
>Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission
>Office of Small Business and Environmental Assistance
>MC114 P.O. Box 13087, Austin, TX 78711-3087 USA
>(512) 239-6771
> To post to the greenyes list, send a letter to:
> To unsubscribe, send a message to:
> with the subject
>unsubscribe. If you have any problems, please
>write to
> GreenYes is archived on the GrassRoots Recycling
>Network web site:
Pat Franklin, Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute
1911 Ft. Myer Drive Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22209
703/276-9800 fax 276-9587

To post to the greenyes list, send a letter to:
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Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 10:42:49 -0400
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