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JANUARY 22 MARKS 35 YEARS SINCE THE CONSUMER RECYCLING REVOLUTION WAS LAUNCHED AT COORS

 GOLDEN, Colo., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The aluminum can and aluminum can recycling in the United States turn 35 years old this month. Don't even try to guess where recycling's greatest success story began...
 If you were around in the 1960s, you might remember when beverages started to come in those neat, lightweight, easy-to-crush aluminum cans. What a great idea: a can that's light and much easier to open, doesn't rust, keeps the drink cold and is fun to flatten, and the store will give back a penny for each used one returned.
 At the time, you probably didn't think much about who was behind this innovation, spending five years and millions of dollars to develop it and then many more years fighting to convince the powerful skeptics that aluminum cans and aluminum can recycling would solve the problem of rusting cans littering our parks and highways. Today, you might be surprised to learn that the force behind it all was a small regional brewer in Golden, Colo. -- Coors Brewing Company.
 STORY IDEA: January 22 marks the 35th anniversary of the day Coors, in partnership with Beatrice Foods, introduced the country's first two-piece, all aluminum beverage can for consumer use. Later that year, Coors offered a penny for each used can returned and the response from consumers was striking - 60 million cans returned in the first five years. Today, the aluminum can is by far the most popular beverage container in the United States and about 68 percent of the more than 90 billion aluminum beverage cans sold each year are recycled.
 Like many innovations, the aluminum can was not well received and Coors spent many years battling for its acceptance. The big players in the beverage and can industries, with their large investments in steel can factories, fought the new container. But Coors, led by Bill Coors, then the company's president and now its chairman, was committed to gaining acceptance for the aluminum can and making recycling work. The company even assisted competing brewers build facilities to produce aluminum cans, despite the can's competitive marketing advantages.
 Although consumers liked the can from the beginning, the battle to get other companies to market aluminum cans and support recycling took more than 10 years. As then-editor Fred Church wrote in Modern Metals in 1984, "Bill Coors is the great innovator who -- alone -- foresaw the recycling value of aluminum beer and pop cans." Twelve years earlier, the magazine had quoted Bill Coors saying, "We think the aluminum can is the environmental package for carbonated beverages." It's an interesting and little-known story.
 There were several reasons why Coors was so committed to the aluminum can and recycling, including:
 -- Environmentalists who wanted to "ban the can" had a legitimate
 beef because discarded beverage cans were a big part of the
 disturbing litter problem in the 1950s and 1960s; a container
 that could be easily recycled and had return value for consumers
 was seen as a viable solution.
 -- Recycling aluminum uses 95 percent less energy than producing
 aluminum from virgin materials.
 -- Coors wanted to market draft beer in cans and aluminum cans made
 that possible.
 Coors, now the country's third-largest brewer, has maintained its leadership in aluminum can manufacturing and recycling. The company operates the world's largest aluminum can manufacturing facility, producing some 4 billion cans a year. And in 1990, Coors, through its then subsidiary Golden Aluminum Company, became the first brewer to surpass a 100 percent recycling rate by collecting more used cans for recycling than the company sold in marketing its beer.
 -0- 1/18/94
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Available to reporters only -- a detailed, 100-page, privately published history about the development of the aluminum beverage can and the fight for acceptance of the can and recycling.
 /CONTACT: Jon Goldman of Coors Brewing Company, 800-525-3786/


CO: Coors Brewing Company ST: Colorado IN: FOD SU:

BB -- DV002 -- 2931 01/18/94 16:30 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 18, 1994
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