Read Caption
Bill Coors pioneered the recyclable can in the 1950s.

Brewing a more Sustainable Future

Coors Light extends eco-conscious heritage, focused on all of us doing a little better, and a little more, to create a sustainable future.

Every time you toss an aluminum can into a recycling bin, you’re living a legacy pioneered by Bill Coors. The visionary beer brewer helped introduce the idea of recyclable aluminum cans in the 1950s, and Coors Brewing has been a leader in innovative waste reduction, waste conservation, energy, and sustainable brewing practices ever since.

The organization’s history shows that building a brand, and a more sustainable future, can go hand in hand. In 2016 Coors Light cut its aluminum usage by 3.8 million pounds. All of its major breweries are landfill-free, with less than one percent of waste generated going to landfills. They’ve built the most powerful U.S. solar array at any one brewery, in Irwindale, California, which can produce the equivalent of 22 million beers per year powered by the sun. Decreasing water use and reusing brewing waste to make ethanol fuel and feed are also integral to the brand’s sustainability program.

View Images
The Irwindale, CA brewery uses solar and other energy sources to brew beer. It is the most powerful solar array, at any one brewery, in the country.

“We’re not just doing this because it’s a current fad or trend,” explains Zach Fatla, Coors Light Senior Marketing Manager. “Sustainability has been deep in Coors’ roots and DNA since we helped revolutionize the industry with recycling almost 60 years ago. We’re proud of that legacy, but it’s equally important for us to launch new initiatives and continue walking the walk today.”

Coors Light’s recent nationwide ‘EveryOneCan’ program this summer reflects the idea that everyone from brewers to bartenders to consumers, can and should strive to practice environmental stewardship. It includes a partnership with TerraCycle, the global leader in collecting and repurposing hard-to-recycle waste.

View Images
Our Purpose is to Repurpose.

“Despite fantastic municipal recycling programs all across the country, when you look deeper you see that only a portion of recyclable materials are being captured,” notes Fatla. Working with TerraCycle and other partners, Coors Light will reduce environmental impact in a variety of ways, and will reward consumers with cooler bags made from recycled vinyl and grills made from recycled kegs. Another unique arm of the program ensures that not only cans and bottles, but bottle caps get recycled. Because caps are so small, they often fall through normal recycling streams and go to waste. Special containers with pre-paid shipping labels are distributed to bars so bottle caps can be collected and sent to TerraCycle, where they’re recycled and melted down into sheet metal. Qualifying participants are given uniquely-designed bottle cap art to display in their bar, honoring and recognizing their recycling efforts.

Other partnerships include a tie-in with several professional baseball teams to encourage fans to increase recycling at ball parks, and a local collaboration with ‘Keep Texas Beautiful’ in which Coors donates five cents to the environmental and community engagement organization for every Coors Light served in participating Texas bars.

View Images
Coors Light has been recycling before recycling was a thing, pioneering the industry’s recyclable can.

Long before corporate commitment to the environment became mainstream, Bill Coors made it a cornerstone of his brewing operation. Not because of public pressure, but because it was the right thing to do. Fulfilling that legacy as a sustainability leader today, and into the future, remains central to the Coors Light culture and programs.

“Each initiative continues our climb toward a more sustainable future,” Fatla notes. “But we have to keep going—taking that extra step, being mindful of what we’re putting out into the world, and finding ways to give it new life. There’s always more we can, and will, do.”

Learn more about Coors Light’s ongoing climb to create a more sustainable world, the inspiration we gain from global heroes of sustainability, and how you can make a difference through our EveryOneCan recycling program at

This content was written by and is brought to you by our sponsor. It does not necessarily reflect the views of National Geographic or its editorial staff.