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Materials Use and Recycling
A wide range of materials go into the manufacture, packaging and distribution of our products.
At AB InBev we continuously strive to reduce the amount of material we use, recycling everything we can, integrating the use of recycled inputs into our packaging and ensuring that our packaging is recyclable whenever possible. This commitment is reflected in the exceptional progress we are making toward our 2017 packaging reductions goal (see below).
Recycled, Returnable and Recyclable Packaging
Our products are sold in a variety of recyclable package types — from bulk packaging such as beer kegs that are usually returnable and reusable — to cardboard boxes, aluminum cans, and glass and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. We strive to use high recycled content in our packaging to strengthen recycling markets and reduce packaging input costs.
We have also made progress in using returnable packaging for our packaging materials used in manufacturing our product containers and consumer packaging. For example, we are using returnable metal cages for PET molding tubes, returnable board containers for metal crowns, and returnable plastic pallets for cans and lids from our Metal Container Corporation facilities in the United States.
Thinking Bigger About Packaging
We have established global packaging best practices and benchmarks, and we continuously challenge ourselves to implement best in class, more sustainable packaging solutions. We value input from our consumers and other stakeholders and have created an open innovation portal to collect ideas. Our Research and Development team is working with various universities and institutes to increase packaging strength while also reducing weight.
Using Less Packaging Material
We are constantly looking for ways, not only to use lighter-weight and recycled materials in our packaging, but to use less material, period. This reduces costs, cuts waste and minimizes the consumption of natural resources and transportation fuel.
Some of the ways we reduce materials include:
- Paper Reductions — Removing carton partitions and other paper from cartons, reducing the gauge of the paper, trimming the size of flaps in folding cartons and other paper optimization techniques. These techniques demonstrate how incremental changes can add up to a huge difference in the amount of materials needed to package our products.
- Glass Reductions — Throughout the world, our sites work hard to reduce the amount of glass we use to bottle our products. We pare the weight and thickness of some of our beer bottles while maintaining product safety and structural integrity. Light weighting bottles continues to be a technique that is being implemented across the entire company.
- Metal and Plastic Reductions — Techniques such as down-gauging metal crowns and lids and using thinner shrink wrap help us save tons of metal and plastic each year.