Is the label on your non-alcoholic beer can stopping it from being recycled?
It seems like we all have a personal opinion on whether a drink tastes better in an aluminium can or a glass bottle. Nonetheless, brewers have increasingly opted for the canned option due to them being more economical to transport and store and the unique UV-light protecting properties that preserve the beers' flavour. From a sustainability point, aluminium cans are great too. In the UK, 75% of aluminium cans are recycled and worldwide it's the most recycled drinks container.
A common issue with both glass and aluminium containers is the challenges in removing the adhesive label. These are often made from Polypropylene plastic or paper and are popular amongst non-alcoholic breweries; they are a cost-effective alternative to direct printing. These do not come off easily during the metal separation process and will have to be processed separately or sent to landfill. Novelis Recycling, the World’s largest recycler of aluminium beverage cans, recommend that labels should be as light and easy to remove as possible. This includes designing labels that drinkers can remove and put into their household plastic and paper recycling.
Given the investments needed to print directly onto cans, many craft producers and small scale breweries do not have the capital to invest in printed cans. We hope as the demand for no and low alcohol beer options grows, more producers can push more sustainable methods through their production lines.