Environment: the “good old beer bottles” doomed to disappear?

Environment: Are 'Good Old Beer Bottles' Doomed?

Alternatively known as “refillable containers” (CRM), glass beer bottles, so economical and ecological, are doomed to disappear if the government does not give them a greater place in the its reform of the instructions, fears Équiterre.

The non-profit organization (OSBL) asks the government to support local producers to enable them to use CRMs for bottling.

He therefore proposes the establishment of a funding program aimed at helping local producers who wish to develop reusable container systems, whether in the dairy, cider, spirits or juice and other beverage sectors.

Local producers, such as some dairies, are following suit, but to scale up, it takes state support and conditions facilitating the implementation of the new deposit.

Amélie Côté, source reduction analyst at Équiterre

“The good old glass beer bottles could well disappear in the coming years”, alarms the Quebec non-profit organization, which judges that the government must commit to preserving this system “with proven ecological and economic advantages”.< /p>


< p>The classic aluminum can, when returned, must be recycled and then reproduced after each use. This solution, according to Équiterre, is “much less ecological” than the reuse of the 7 CRM models subject to official deposit agreements with the brewing industry. The same bottle can simply be reused 10 to 25 times, producing far less greenhouse gases than transporting and recycling cans.

However, the proportion of beer bottled in CRMs, or glass bottles, has been in freefall in Quebec since 2009. At the time, 85% of production was bottled in these glass containers. In 2017, this proportion dropped to 32%, to drop to only 15% in 2022.

On January 30, 2020, Quebec announced that it was moving forward with the expansion of the deposit. This initiative should be implemented gradually from November 1, 2023. According to Équiterre, this would be the “perfect opportunity” to develop new refillable containers.

Although the bottle is more environmentally friendly, it’s the aluminum can that won the hearts of consumers, says Recyc-Québec, the government agency at the heart of deposit reform: easier to store, less risk of breakage and it’s often the allowed container when holding events.

But Recyc-Québec is reassuring. Despite the low percentage of glass bottles used, the fact remains that 100 million of this type of container are in circulation in Quebec. And “all the brewers […] have confirmed their intention to maintain the network of reusable bottles”.

The arrival of many imported beers would also contribute to the decrease in bottling in CRM. The brewing industry is responsible for the development and implementation of private agreements allowing the management of CRMs, so that they are “rewashed and reused a minimum of 10 times before being recycled

The Quebec Brewers Association did not respond to our requests for interviews.

The organization ensures that “various options are currently being looked at in order to promote their use”. A committee has also been set up to ensure the transition from CRM to the extended deposit system.

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