Passed by 11 - 0 vote on February 2, 1999


WHEREAS, the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation has made great strides in implementing citywide recycling, won awards for their innovation, creativity, and efficiency with the recycling program, and has consistently been ahead of schedule in achieving state-mandated goals for collection; and

WHEREAS, the City saves taxpayers money by reducing trash that would otherwise go to landfills, creating markets for products made from recyclable materials, and supporting programs that educate the public on reducing the waste stream; and

WHEREAS, Miller Brewing Company recently began testmarketing Miller Genuine Draft, Miller Lite and Icehouse in a new plastic beer bottle in the Los Angeles area; and

WHEREAS, Miller Brewing Company has initiated similar tests in Phoenix/Tucson, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Miami, and Norfolk, making this the first large-scale distribution of beer in plastic bottles in the United States and major step towards its eventual nationwide distribution; and

WHEREAS, this new Miller bottle uses a five-layer design developed by Continental PET Technologies Inc. and made from polyethelyene terephalate (PET), a plastic resin commonly used in plastic soft drink bottles; and

WHEREAS, while the bottle design developed by Continental PET has the ability to incorporate 25%-40% recycled content, Miller has not incorporated recycled content in any plastic bottles used in the testmarkets and has not made any commitment to use recycled content in the future; and

WHEREAS, 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:

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

WHEREAS, the widespread introduction of this bottle has the potential to undermine the current PET recycling infrastructure by introducing contaminants to the recycled PET resin stream; increasing processing costs for curbside programs, recycling centers and plastics processors; and increasing the supply of post-consumer PET without addressing the demand for postconsumer PET; and

THEREFORE, the City of Los Angeles hereby resolves that Miller must address these recyclability issues and must do so without creating any additional cost to City=s recycling program, and

The City of Los Angeles further resolves, that Miller must make a commitment to developing markets for recycled PET by using at least 25% postconsumer recycled content in this container; and

The City of Los Angeles further resolves that Miller should resolve these issues before extending or expanding the current testmarketing of its plastic beer bottle.

FURTHERMORE, the City Council hereby directs the Bureau of Sanitation staff to determine how much the unrecyclable Miller Beer Bottles will cost the City of Los Angeles and its taxpayers and present the Miller Brewing Company with a bill to recoup costs that the City will endure as a result of Miller=s decision to market this product.

Presented by: ___________________________
Councilmember, Sixth District

Seconded by: ___________________________

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