FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts:     Lance King (703) 241-4927
March 9, 2000 Rick Best (916) 443-5422

Recycling Groups Raise Concerns About National Roll-out of Miller Plastic Beer Bottle
Washington, DC - Today, Miller Brewing Company announced a national roll-out of the plastic beer bottle. Over the past several months, Miller has worked to address some of the concerns of recyclers by committing to use recycled plastic in making bottles and to use new, recycling-compatible plastic caps and labels.

"The use of recycled content by Miller is an especially important element to addressing market demand for recycling the new plastic beer bottle. These are important steps to address the recycling concerns. Miller should be commended," said Rick Best, President of the GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) and Policy Director for Californians Against Waste.

"Major issues remain about the impact of Miller's bottles on recycling," said Best. "Miller's amber bottle will continue to impose substantial new costs on recycling systems for cities. Many communities cannot afford to subsidize costs to sort amber colored bottles, costs which may be as high as 5 to 6 cents per pound."

"Miller has commendably made a start to acknowledge this by offering a premium this year for their bottle, but recyclers have seen similar promises broken," said Best. "Miller needs to make a binding commitment that it will not continue to market its bottle without continuing a premium adequate to reimburse the communities for those additional costs."

"Manufacturers like Miller must acknowledge that plastics recycling continues to struggle relative to other materials such aluminum and glass," said Dr. Bill Sheehan, GRRN's Network Coordinator. "The majority of PET plastics recycling is occurring in the state's with bottle deposit legislation. Unless efforts are undertaken to address producer responsibility for recycling, plastics waste will continue to increase."

"While Miller has stated its intention to use recycled content in its plastic bottles, Miller has not specified the amount of recycled material that will be used," said Best. "GRRN is continuing to seek a commitment by Miller to use a significant level such as 25% recycled content which has been demonstrated in other plastic bottles."

In November 1998, Miller Brewing Company began testmarketing a new plastic beer bottle. In response, the GrassRoots Recycling Network and others in the recycling community raised a number of concerns about the recyclability of the new bottle and urged Miller to make the following commitments before rolling out the new plastic bottle nationwide:

  1. Ensure that the Miller bottle is compatible with the current recycled PET stream.
  2. Ensure that the bottle will not increase processing costs or downgrade the quality or market price of recovered PET for local governments and recyclers.
  3. Use at least 25 percent recycled content in all bottles.

In February 1999, Council Member Ruth Galanter sponsored a resolution in the Los Angeles City Council raising similar concerns and calling on Miller to address recyclability concerns and commit to using 25% recycled content before introducing the bottle nationwide. For more information, see The GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) is a North American network of recycling and community?based activists dedicated to achieving a sustainable economy based on the principle of zero waste. GRRN advocates policies and practices to promote producer responsibility for product and packaging waste, to end corporate welfare for waste, and to create sustainable jobs from discards. GRRN was founded in 1995 by members of the Sierra Club Solid Waste Committee, the Institute for Local Self?Reliance, and the California Resource Recovery Association.


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