Beer and Soda

sustainable beer?

Look closely at these two trucks.  A common site around the world.  The green one (behind the red one) transports Carlsberg beer, and the red one transports sodas, this one, from Coca cola.  These refillable barrels are sent to pubs and restaurants all over the world, and plugged into their taps.  Imagine the millions of kilos of packaging material that has been saved using this system!  It is a system that been tried and tested, and more importantly, managed by the manufacturer or their distributor.

Other companies, in their attempts to reduce waste and green their businesses, have attempted similar refill concepts.  The primary goal is to cut down on the packaging waste that is caused by disposable or daily use products.  The Bodyshop is one large orgnaised company that attempted this, way back in the 1990’s and it wasn’t a success.  Most marketers and product companies now realize that it was a failure because the onus was on the consumer to remember to bring a bottle to re-fill each time.  This won’t work.  It boils down to one word, convenience, which is the basis of consumerism in developed, affluent and rich societies. This is why this image is so interesting.

Seems we DO have a working system to manage the refill process. Why is this system successful?  It is because it is managed by the corporate.  There is no responsibility on the end consumer to do anything except enjoy the product.

I believe that this will be a new type of industry created, where teams of people especially around cities, will work work with either large brands or with the supermarkets, chain stores, etc, purely to manage the refill systems for the end consumers.  It is the only solution to reduce the dumping of wasteful, used-once packaging, thereby easing the damage we’re doing to our planet.

See my earlier article – Retailers must do more!

- Deepak

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