When we got our new dog last summer, it suddenly struck me: there is an awful lot of litter on the streets and in the parks! A puppy really picks up everything from the street: twigs, leaves and grass clippings. But unfortunately also cigarette butts, candy wrappers, mouth caps and much more garbage that doesn't belong on the street. Several days a day I was busy fishing all this junk out of her mouth. For me, from a young age, it has always been a matter of course not to throw garbage on the street. It would be great if we could make everyone aware of this and together ensure that waste does not end up in nature unnecessarily. This increase in awareness is an important goal of the annual National Clean-up Day of the Netherlands. This year I was able to experience for myself how much satisfaction it gives to work with colleagues to make nature a little cleaner.
Every package counts
Last Saturday, March 19, Nederland Schoon organized the 20th National Clean-up Day, with the overarching theme "Every package counts! Something that we, as a partner of Nederland Schoon, naturally wanted to roll up our sleeves for. Because even though we are very proud of our company and our beers, we hate it that some of our packaging ends up in nature. Because of course they do not belong there. With an enthusiastic group of colleagues we went to work in the Enschede harbor area. Armed with garbage bags and toothpicks we spent a morning cleaning up the waste. Although we all know and see that a lot of litter ends up in nature, we were surprised again: what a lot of bags we cleaned up. With a morning picking up litter we will not solve the problem, but if we can raise awareness little by little then that is a good start!
Not only on 19 March
Of course, we do not only take action for a cleaner world on 19 March. Every day, we at Grolsch take steps to make our processes and products as sustainable as possible. For example, did you know that last year we introduced the sustainable TopClip can packaging? The new packaging is 100% plastic-free, and by replacing all tin foil in the Netherlands with this cardboard TopClip tin packaging, Grolsch saves over 100,000 kg of plastic each year. This amount is equivalent to over 4 million new plastic bags!
We also started using circular drinking cups at festivals in 2018. Following on from this, in 2019 we started testing reusable carrier trays, including at the Zwarte Cross. Starting this year, we are switching 100% to this sustainable and reusable carrier tray. As a result, the festival grounds and the marquee will be significantly cleaner. An important effect of the reusable tray is that visitors drop far fewer cups during an event when the floor is not littered with cardboard trays. We hope that the use of reusable trays will also contribute to the awareness of festival visitors to throw away less waste and to return more plastic for recycling. Because most packaging can be recycled if it is disposed of properly.
We are proud that with the use of refillable glass bottles, stainless steel kegs, cellar beer and the well-recyclable can, the beer sector is among the leaders in the Netherlands when it comes to circular packaging and reuse of materials. Consumers are used to handing in their empty crates or taking empty bottles to the bottle bank. And some 95% of cans come back through PMD and after separation. Very nice, but that also means that about 5% ends up on the street. It is therefore a good thing that, from 1 January 2023, consumers will also be able to hand in their cans at the supermarket, in addition to PET bottles. We hope that the introduction of a deposit on cans will ensure that the last 5% is also returned, so that it does not end up on the street as litter but can be used for circular purposes.
I have been working at the brewery for two years now and it makes me proud to experience every day how we are working together on sustainable and responsible business. Not just by talking about it, but especially by actually doing it. And our dog? That is now a naughty adolescent who fortunately no longer picks up everything she encounters on the street!
Do you have any questions, comments or tips regarding sustainable and responsible business? I'd love to hear them!
Corporate Communications Manager