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Coors Brewing Company

As the company responsible for introducing the aluminum beverage can and aluminum can recycling in the United States in 1959, Coors Brewing Company has a heritage of environmental responsibility. Today, environmental performance is an integral part of all of Coors' industrial operations. The company's strong environmental record demonstrates that Coors is committed to protecting the environment.

Early Achievements

  • In the 1950s, the steel can industry told Coors it was crazy to waste five years and $10 million to develop the technology to make aluminum beverage cans. But the first commercially produced aluminum beverage can in America was made at Coors' plant in Golden, Colo., on January 22, 1959.
  • The industry thought Coors was even crazier to think people would return the cans for recycling. Yet in 1959, Coors single-handedly launched the aluminum can recycling revolution when it began offering a penny for every returned can. AND IT WORKED.
  • On its own, Coors designed and built the first modern wastewater treatment plant in Colorado in 1952, adding a secondary treatment process decades before it was required to do so.

Pollution Prevention and Environmental Performance

  • Annual generation of hazardous waste from regular activities was slashed by more than 90% since 1992. All Coors facilities meet small quantity generator status under hazardous waste laws.
  • Coors is a charter member of the Colorado Pollution Prevention Partnership, a group whose members include companies, environmental organizations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
  • Coors conducts regular, comprehensive environmental, health and safety audits of all of its facilities.
  • Each year, Coors diverts thousands of tons of materials from landfills by recycling office paper, corrugated cardboard and paperboard, plastic banding, aluminum and other scrap metal.
  • Coors worked with an independent company in 1995 to establish the largest industrial composting operation in Colorado. Each year, Coors composts approximately 11 million gallons of biosolids and 68,000 cubic yards of scrap wood and other solids.
  • Coors owns a public golf course near Golden that is one of only a handful in the country maintained organically, eliminating chemicals normally used to keep golf courses green. This is done to protect Coors' brewing water that lies beneath the course.

Packaging Improvements

  • Coors has successfully pursued a three-pronged strategy to improve its packaging: reduce packaging weight, increase recycled content and improve recyclability.
  • Reductions in the weights of certain bottle sizes since 1988 provide annual savings of 72 million pounds of glass. A redesign of bottle boxes cuts by 8 million pounds annually the amount of corrugated used by Coors.
  • Postconsumer recycled content of glass bottles manufactured by Coors grew from 9% in 1989 to about 35% today. Recycled content of both aluminum and corrugated used by Coors is about 70%.
  • Most of Coors' paper packaging, which a few years ago could not be recycled, is now 90% recyclable.

Recent Awards

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented Coors with its WasteWi$e recognition for sustained leadership for the company's success in incorporating waste prevention actions into its core operations, 1996.
  • The Coalition of Northeastern Governors presented Coors with the Corporate Commitment Award for leadership in reducing packaging waste, 1995.
  • Coors was designated a Groundwater Guardian National Partner in 1998 by the Groundwater Foundation.
  • Coors' Shenandoah facility received the 1998 Environmental Excellence Award from the Virginia Water Environment Association.
  • In 1999 Coors received the Climate Wise Annual Partner Achievement Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency for our significant accomplishments in improving energy efficiency and reducing pollution.

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