Bell's News

Bell’s Accepted into the Glass Recycling Coalition

As of July, 2017 our brewery is a member of the Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC).

We’re excited to be a part of this initiative to help ensure that our, and all glass containers throughout the United States and world are recycled to their highest and best use.

Though we’re based in Michigan, where a great deal of glass manufacturing takes place, our beer travels throughout the U.S. and on occasion beyond with the help of our fans and employees.

Our Global Services Manager, Walker Modic explained that although here at the brewery we have a glass redemption rate of near 100%, our beer moves “around the country, into places where glass recycling is not as strong and that’s going to diminish our ability to keep amber glass an environmentally tolerable material.”

Before aluminum came back in favor in the early 2010’s, glass was the preferred package type for craft beer. Although many of beers are now exclusively available in cans, glass is still an important packaging option for our brewery. In order to remain both sustainable and fiscally responsible, we collect and crush our waste amber glass on site. This glass then heads directly to our recyclers.

With high rates of glass redemption in Michigan, the main focus of our joining the GRC is not to improve glass recycling locally, or even statewide, but throughout the nation.

“If it’s only happening in Michigan, there’s just not enough glass to provide supply to all of the glass manufacturers in the rest of the country,” Walker said. “So you gotta bring everyone along or, we’ll do a great job recycling here at this location, or here in this state, but we’ll still find ourselves buying an amber glass product that is low in recycled content and it’s more likely than not to leave our state and go to a place where it will end up in a landfill.”

In 2016, our glass redemption rate was about 2 million bottles, and although that seems like a large amount, “Bell’s as a consumer of amber glass is not massive” Walker said. “But when you look at the other craft breweries involved in the coalition you do start to move towards a large enough volume.”

One of the hopes for our joining the GRC is “that by improving recycling in the places that you sell beer you improve the odds that your beer bottle is recycled,” Walker said. 

Although recycling, and sustainability as a whole are important things for our company, they aren’t always top of mind for every person who buys our beer.  

Walker explained that our top priority when it comes to our beer remains quality, but our sustainable practices will help to ensure that we can continue providing this high standard of quality for years to come. 

Bottle or can, in Michigan or Texas, we encourage all our fans to drink responsibly and discard sustainably. Cheers!

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