In 1978, Anheuser-Busch wanted to become part of the solution for recycling aluminum cans. Today, 30 years later, Anheuser-Busch Recycling has kept the equivalent of more than 460 billion aluminum beverage containers out of landfills across the United States and educated consumers about the power of recycling.
“We’re proud of the fact that we’ve helped millions of consumers get involved in recycling and increased their awareness of our environment,” said Trevor Hansen, vice president of Anheuser-Busch Recycling. “Our employees have become recycling experts and enjoy working with local communities to develop creative solutions and educational programs. We try to show people that we can each make a difference for the environment by recycling, even if it is only one can at a time.”
A number of the initiatives have been developed to celebrate the anniversary, including the development of a new Web site (www.powerofrecycling.com) where visitors can learn more about the importance of recycling and how they can create recycling programs in their own communities. In addition, Anheuser-Busch Recycling is distributing thousands of recycling bins to Anheuser-Busch wholesalers across the country to assist in local recycling projects.
“When we first started, our mission was to help create an aluminum can recycling infrastructure by working with the company’s wholesalers across the country,” said Hansen. “We purchased and provided each wholesaler can processing equipment and helped set them up as centers to purchase cans from the general public.”
As recycling cans became more popular in the mid 1980s, the existing scrap industry became more interested in purchasing cans. Since the primary business of the company’s wholesalers is to sell beer, they began transferring the can processing equipment over to these new partners in the scrap recycling industry. Currently, Anheuser-Busch Recycling helps its partners advertise and promote recycling of aluminum cans. More than 700 suppliers still have equipment purchased by the company and use it to process and then sell directly to their partner – Anheuser-Busch Recycling.
“Basically, we purchase bundles of aluminum cans from our suppliers and ship them to our aluminum smelting and processing facilities that produce aluminum sheet for can making,” said Hansen.
Metal Container Corporation, an Anheuser-Busch subsidiary, purchases a large percentage of this processed aluminum sheet and turns it into new aluminum cans that not only supply Anheuser-Busch breweries, but other well-known beverage companies as well.
To encourage and promote recycling, Anheuser-Busch Recycling’s dedicated team implements numerous programs, from the company’s Recycle Challenge program, where schools earn money from recycled cans to purchase school supplies, to beverage container collection at large venues and events, including in recent years the Daytona 500, Sturgis Bike Week and LPGA/PGA TOUR tournaments. In addition, the company operates a recycling center in Hayward, Calif., which processes both aluminum cans and plastic bottles.
Since its founding in 1852, Anheuser-Busch has looked for ways to improve the environment and communities around the country where it has business operations. It began with company founder Adolphus Busch, who recycled leftover grains from the brewing process for use as cattle feed. Today, the brewer’s 12 U.S. breweries recycle more than 99 percent of the solid waste from their brewing and packaging processes.