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Molson Coors Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Aluminum Can Introduced by Bill Coors in 1959

Submitted by: Molson Coors Brewing Company

Categories: Sustainability, Environment

Posted: Jan 22, 2009 – 07:30 AM EST


Companywide Sustainable Packaging Practices and Recycling Initiatives Continue Today

Jan. 22 /CSRwire/ - - Jan. 22, 2009 - Today marks the 50th anniversary of the aluminum can, as introduced by Bill Coors and Coors Brewing Company in 1959, which changed the global industry standard for packaging beverages and started a recycling revolution.

The aluminum can offered a new way of packaging beer and other beverages that preserved the quality and taste of beer, as well as provided an alternative to the tin can – which was widely used at the time, but often leaked and changed the beer's taste.

This new way of packaging beverages also introduced an important sustainability practice in the beverage industry – recycling. On the heels of the introduction of the first aluminum can, Coors initiated the first aluminum can recycling program in the U.S. The aluminum can is 100 percent recyclable, can be recycled indefinitely and remains the most recyclable of all materials. Using recycled aluminum scrap to make new aluminum cans uses 95 percent less energy than making aluminum cans from raw materials1.

Molson Coors Packaging and Recycling

Innovation in packaging design continues to be an important part of environmental stewardship at Molson Coors and has led to substantial reductions in the use of raw materials. The majority of Molson Coors primary packaging materials are either recyclable, refillable, and/or light weighted, which reduces materials used for packaging and lowers transportation costs. Today, more than 95 percent of co-products and waste at Molson Coors breweries are reused or recycled.


  • In Canada, an average of 98 percent of Molson's bottles and 83 percent of cans are returned to points of sale by consumers, who are also invited to return the cardboard packaging

  • Returned materials are either reused or recycled. Each year this saves landfills from millions of pounds of glass, aluminum, and corrugated cardboard

  • Molson uses industry returned glass bottles that are reused 15–20 times after which they are sold to glass manufacturers to be recycled into new bottles

  • The Packaging Association of Canada awarded Molson Canadian a Bronze award at the Sustainable Packaging Leadership Awards on Earth Day, April 22, 2008

  • In June 2008, Molson began exclusive use of recyclable plastic cups at events across Quebec. Molson sponsors more than 300 events across Quebec, so the use of recyclable cups keeps tens of thousands of cups from landfills
  • In the U.K., Coors Brewers, Ltd. collaborated with two UK government-affiliated groups on the Containerlite project, to redesign and light weight the 300ml standard Grolsch bottle

    • The new bottle debuted with a reduced diameter, smaller label size and significantly less glass content. The reduced diameter meant that the bottles fit perfectly into incoming and outgoing shipping pallets, wasting no space – so less glass and secondary packing is shipped into Coors Brewers and less goes out into landfills after use
  • After the successful launch of the light weighted Grolsch bottle, the majority of Coors Brewers brands were converted and are now packaged in the redesigned bottle, which has reduced the package weight by 4,500 tonnes or a full 13 percent
  • Following the introduction of the aluminum can, Coors launched the first large-scale recycling program, promising consumers one penny for every returned aluminum beverage can returned to the brewery – the beginning of aluminum can recycling in the U.S.

  • Over the past five years, Coors Brewing Company, now MillerCoors, has decreased the aluminum in its cans by seven percent 

  • In 2007, Coors saved enough aluminum to create 168 Boeing 737 airplanes. The company also used 11 percent less paper board in its 12-pack cartons, saving 907 tons or about 20,700 trees

  • MillerCoors has partnered with RecycleBank, a national program that encourages recycling by awarding customers redeemable points for recycling paper, glass, plastic and metal and allowing them to redeem the points for gift certificates on MillerCoors branded gear
In 2007, efforts across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. enabled Molson Coors to decrease carbon emissions by six percent and water use by four percent. In the same year, energy usage was down five percent and solid waste generation was reduced by 14 percent. These reductions were achieved during a year in which the Company's volumes increased, driven by greater brewing efficiency.

Additional information about packaging, waste reduction and recycling at Molson Coors can be found at:

About Molson Coors Brewing Company:

Molson Coors Brewing Company is one of the world's largest brewers. It brews, markets and sells a portfolio of leading premium quality brands such as Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Molson Dry, Carling, Coors, and Keystone Light in North America, Europe and Asia. It operates in Canada, through Molson Canada; in the US, through the MillerCoors joint venture; in the U.K. and Ireland, through Coors Brewers, Ltd. For more information on Molson Coors Brewing Company, visit the company's Web site, www.molsoncoors.com. For more information about the company's commitments to corporate responsibility, visit www.molsoncoors.com/responsibility.

1U.S. Department of Energy web site

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Molson Coors Brewing Company


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