New Beer New Bottles
Some of you might still remember the three Rs of conservation – reduce, reuse, recycle. I distinctly remember Tweety Bird explaining it to me in grade school. The idea is to waste less, reuse what you can, and recycle what’s left. Lots of breweries like to tout their sustainable practices. New Belgium, for example, prominently features their energy use, waste, and emissions on their website. Lots of breweries boasted about the lower energy costs of aluminum cans. Cans are lighter to transport and easier to recycle. Of course, aluminum is harder to mine, but that’s another matter.
Double Mountain went in an entirely different direction when they began bottling beer, reusable bottles. If you return Double Mountain bottles to the brewery or most retailers, they will clean and reuse them. But only about 15-20% of bottles were actually returned. It was better than crushing and recycling, but not entirely reliable. To grow the reuse program, Double Mountain partnered with half dozen local breweries and the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative to introduce a statewide system for collecting and cleaning reusable glass bottles.
It’s a far simpler system. Instead of returning bottles separately from other recyclables, the new bottles can go directly through the Bottle Drop to be sorted. washed, and sent back to participating breweries. The heavy weight glass can be reused up to 25 times. Breweries have been slowly rolling out the new bottles all summer in 500 mL sizes, and now twelve ounce six packs. Like Double Mountain’s new pale ale. A dry, mellow beer with a nice melon-y sweetness.