On the final day in February, New Belgium Brewing has announced that they will support extended producer responsibility (EPR) in conjunction with an organization called Recycling Reinvented. According to the company, one of its core beliefs is “honoring nature at every turn of the business.” In a quote by Jennifer Vervier, director of sustainability for the brewer, “I believe that if the producers were held accountable for the end of life of their packages, more efficient and effective systems would be created to promote landfill diversion.” She continues, “Recycling Reinvented’s vision of a uniquely American style of EPR lays the groundwork for the development of those types of efficiencies.”

At base, Recycling Reinvented is trying to get producers to agree to be more responsible about their products and where they end up. The EPR model has brand owners pledging to help in covering the cost of dealing with their product refuse and waste removal. This would take some of the strain off our current practices when it comes to recycling. It focuses on improving the system we have in place and while keeping responsibility on the consumer it will also hold the producer of the waste responsible now. Diversion from landfills is what Recycling Reinvented and the introduction of EPR is going for with their efforts. The organization also wants to promote more overall recycling in general. Their website outlines more information on their goals and strategies. It also explained what they are about and who is involved.

New Belgium is out of Fort Collins, Colorado and is a well-known producer of craft beers with their Fat Tire Amber Ale being one of their most popular choices. This is not their first foray into sustainability, as their website will suggest. Smaller breweries (comparatively) such as this one getting involved in recycling and being aware of the waste they produce is a great step in the beer industry in general becoming more involved. Breweries cannot stand idly by and say they are not responsible for the debris they produce, especially when that debris is 100% recyclable. Hopefully this will do something in the way of getting the major corporations involved, but it’s doubtful.

According to the executive director of Recycling Reinvented, Paul Gardner, “We are pleased that New Belgium has joined us in supporting the development of a uniquely American, business-driven solution for diverting valuable materials from our waste stream and landfills.” This is a new attempt at recycling since it brings the producers to the table and holds them accountable for once. Also, it is not placing all of the responsibility solely on these producers either, just trying to more-evenly dole out the work. The recycling effort isn’t going to just run itself, it needs everyone to pitch in and become involved or it will fade out.

Picture via Tomasz Sienicki