Coors Light will eliminate plastic rings from its packaging where Molson Coors owns brewing operations, and is set to become the largest beer brand in North America to move away from plastic rings.
Molson Coors will spend $85 million to begin the transition to fully recyclable and sustainably sourced cardboard-wrap carriers for Coors Light later this year.
The Molson Coors investment will upgrade packaging machinery, which will also allow the company’s entire North American portfolio of brands to advance to cardboard wrap carriers by the end of 2025.
In total, the move by Molson Coors will save 1.7 million pounds of plastic waste annually. In 2021, Molson Coors removed plastic rings across all major brands sold in the United Kingdom, including Coors and Carling, and transitioned to recyclable cardboard sleeves.
Molson Coors in Canada moved to more sustainable plastic rings in 2021 as an initial step, and committed to eliminate plastic rings entirely.
In Canada, Coors Light’s transition from plastic rings to its new cardboard packaging will begin in the next year and is planned to be completed by the end of 2023.
“We believe that buying beer shouldn’t mean buying plastic,” said Marcelo Pascoa, vice-president of marketing for the Coors Family of Brands. “That’s why we’re taking a step toward making packaging even more sustainable, and with this achievement Coors Light will save 400,000 pounds of single-use plastic from becoming waste across North America every year.”
In 1959, Coors debuted the two-piece recyclable aluminum can. Despite the five years and millions invested in the development of the recyclable can, Coors did not patent the new packaging. Instead, the company encouraged other beverage makers to embrace the recyclable can which led to a recycling revolution.
“Our business, and Coors in particular, has a long history of using packaging innovation to protect our environment, and today we are building on that rich legacy,” said Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley. “Just as Coors led the way by pioneering the recyclable aluminum can, Coors Light will lead the way by moving out of single-use plastic rings in North America.”
Molson Coors set sustainability goals in 2017 with a focus on water, climate and packaging. The Coors Light announcement pushes Molson Coors closer to its goal of ensuring packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable, and consumer-facing plastic packaging is made from at least 30% recycled content by the end of 2025.