Ambev, the leader in the Latin American beer market, has revealed plans to eliminate its plastic packaging by 2025. “Today 40% of our beers already use returnable packaging, but as we made progress our dream got bigger and we decided to end plastic pollution in our packaging,” Rodrigo Figueiredo, Ambev’s vice-president of sustainability and supply chain, said in an interview on Monday.
Since plastic is rather downcycled than recycled, the company will focus its efforts on packaging made from glass, metal and paper. Downcycling, or cascading, is the recycling of waste where the recycled material is of lower quality and functionality than the original material. Recycling of plastic very often consists of so-called “thermal recycling”, a euphemism for burning the waste to recover part of the energy.
Figueiredo also stressed the fact that banning of plastic has the possibility to generate revenues of approximately BRL 1 billion (USD 239m) for the company as the company aims to fill all its beverages either in returnable packaging or packaging made of 100% recycled material.
“We participate in the United Nations Global Compact, which represents a commitment made by corporate leaders to incorporating fundamental and internationally ratified human rights, labor relations, environmental and anti-corruption principles into their business practices. Sustainable growth is our ever-constant goal. With that in mind, in 2018 we launched a new set of goals to be reached by 2025,” said Bernardo Pinto Paiva, until recently CEO of Ambev in the company’s sustainability report 2018.
Ambev’s initiative follows the 2025 Sustainability Goals of its mother company AB InBev, which are based on the 5 pillars 1. smart agriculture, 2. water stewardship, 3. circular packaging, 4. climate action and 5. smart drinking. Just two weeks ago, AB InBev announced to brew soon all of its beers in Europe with renewable electricity (inside.beer, 9.1.2020).