Processing Magazine

Anheuser-Busch recycling celebrates 30 years

November 3, 2008

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. A number of the initiatives have been developed to celebrate the anniversary, including the development of a new Web site (http://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. 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.