Rio Tinto to make beer cans ‘infinitely recyclable’

Rio Tinto's Weipa bauxite operations in Queensland. Image: Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto has joined forces with the world’s largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) to make beer cans out of responsibly produced, low-carbon aluminium.

This will be a first for the canned beverage industry as the two companies commit to work with supply chain partners to ensure beer cans meet sustainability standards.

AB InBev will use Rio Tinto’s low-carbon aluminium made with renewable hydropower along with recycled content.

This could slash carbon emissions by more than 30 per cent per can compared with those produced using traditional manufacturing techniques.

“Rio Tinto is pleased to continue to partner with customers in the value chain in an innovative way to meet their needs and help produce sustainable products,” Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said.

“Our partnership with AB InBev is the latest development and reflects the great work of our commercial team.”

The first one million cans produced under the partnership will be piloted in the United States on Michelob Ultra, which Rio Tinto stated was the fastest growing beer brand in the country.

According to Rio Tinto, AB InBev’s packaging supply chain is the largest source of emissions by sector in the company’s value chain.

Rio Tinto and AB InBev plan to integrate technology solutions into the brewer’s supply chain, advancing its transition toward more sustainable packaging and providing traceability on the aluminium used in cans.

AB InBev vice president of procurement and sustainability, North America, Ingrid De Ryck said the company was constantly looking for new ways to reduce its carbon footprint across its entire value chain.

“With this partnership, we will bring low-carbon aluminium to the forefront with our consumers and create a model for how companies can work with their suppliers to drive innovative and meaningful change for our environment,” she said.

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