‘Red-Cycling’ for the environment - Beer company pushes for a buy-drink-return culture
With local sanitation authorities constantly facing new challenges around the improper disposal of garbage, beer company Red Stripe is again pushing for greater environmental awareness and action. Through its ‘Red-Cycling’ initiative, the manufacturer is hoping to inspire a ‘buy-drink-return’ culture in Jamaica, where consumers returning bottles promptly will become commonplace.
“It is time we translate our environmental awareness to actions that serve our collective best interest. Fewer glass bottles in landfills mean lower emissions of greenhouse gases and less resources required for our waste-management systems,” asserted Dianne Ashton-Smith, Red Stripe’s head of corporate affairs. “We hope our consumers will join us on our journey to employ more environmentally friendly practices that will positively shape our shared future.”
Consumers are encouraged to return empty Red Stripe, Heineken, Guinness, Dragon Stout, Smirnoff Ice and Malta bottles for recycling. Each bottle is valued at $20, while a full crate fetches $600. Rates were increased in 2019 in response to declining return rates over the previous decade. The company had moved from returns of 95 per cent in 2009 to 85 per cent in 2018. The refund increase was the linchpin in its ‘Red-Cycling’ initiative and successfully increased the glass bottle return rate to 97 per cent.
Ashton-Smith explained that a glass bottle can be reused up to six times within the production cycle without losing its quality or purity. Each bottle is thoroughly inspected to determine its fitness for reuse. The Red Stripe executive said the company reserves the right to reject bottles and crates that do not meet its quality standards.
Addressing the issue of consumers hoarding empties until the busy Christmas season, Ashton-Smith says recycling throughout the year is ultimately better for the environment. She hopes Red-Cycling will inspire Jamaicans to practise recycling as part of their everyday lives. “We see now, more than ever before, that care for the environment isn’t a nice-to-do, it is a necessity. Sustainability is not just a buzzword. It should become a driving principle in both corporate and personal endeavours,” said Ashton-Smith.
“As part of the Heineken Company, Red Stripe is committed to environmental best practices – principles that are embedded within the cultural fabric of our company. It drives our actions and determines our priorities. Last year we doubled the value of each bottle to give our consumers more incentive to return our bottles, and to demonstrate the value of practising recycling.”