CITY COUNCIL

CONSENT CALENDAR                                   April 19, 1999

SUBJECT: RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE USE OF A NEW, PLASTIC BEER CONTAINER THAT CANNOT BE RECYCLED DUE TO ITS NEW DESIGN

INITIATED BY: MAYOR PRO TEMPORE JEFFREY PRANG (Council Deputy, Howard Jacobs

(Council Intern, Julianne Sohn)

COUNCILMEMBER STEVE MARTIN

(Council Deputy, Richard Ryan)


STATEMENT OF THE SUBJECT:

The City Council will consider a resolution opposing the use of new, plastic beer container that cannot be recycled due to its design.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Adopt Resolution No. 99-______ " A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD OPPOSING THE USE OF A NEW, PLASTIC BEER CONTAINER THAT CANNOT BE RECYCLED DUE TO ITS DESIGN."
  2. Direct staff to inform the Miller Brewing Company and Anhauser Busch and other appropriate beverage distributors of the Councilís resolution.

BACKGROUND ANALYSIS:

In November, the Miller Brewing Company became the first brewery in the United States to sell beer in plastic bottles. Miller is selling their Genuine Draft, Lite and Icehouse products with this container. Anheuser Busch has also announced their intention to sell beer in these containers The bottle is mostly made from the same kind of plastic, polyethelyene terephalate (PET), used in making soda containers, but itís color and design could create problems for recycling plants. The current features of these bottles make them incompatible with current recycling systems. Sorting the new beer bottles from other plastic containers will cost taxpayers and recyclers more money.

The Miller Brewing Company began testmarketing these new bottles in the Los Angeles area and has already testmarketed these new plastic bottles in Phoenix/Tuscon, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Miami, and Norfolk, making this the first large-scale distribution of beer in plastic bottles in the country. Anheuser Busch is also test marketing this concept. They are using the following cities: Houston, Dallas, Phoenix to evaluate consumer acceptance. These efforts are major steps towards the bottles nationwide distribution.

The bottle design was developed by Continental PET Technologies Inc. which has the ability to incorporate 25%-40% recycled content, but Miller and Anhauser Busch has not incorporated recycled content in any plastic bottles used in the testmarkets and has not made a commitment to use recycled content in the future.

The Plastics Redesign Project, a 32-state coalition of recycling officials that aims to work with the industry on plastic packaging design, has conducted a preliminary evaluation of this container and identified a number of potential adverse impacts on PET recycling efforts;

  1. use of an oxygen barrier layer which may be a contaminant in the recycled PET resin stream,
  2. use of a metal cap instead of a plastic cap which is extremely difficult to completely remove during processing,
  3. use of a metalized label which is very difficult to remove during processing,
  4. use of amber tint PET which must be separated at an additional cost from the clear and green PET streams.

OFFICE OF PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY:

Mayor Pro Tempore Jeffrey Prang

FISCAL IMPACT:

None.

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