PAC: Retailer/Brand Owner - Bronze

Molson Canadian


This package maximizes the use of both renewable and recycled materials as the bottles are reused between 12-15 times and 98% are returned for re-use. Eventually the glass can be used in cullet form for other uses such as being melted down for production of new bottles. The cartons are returned to the brewery and in turn recycled through paper mills, and all secondary material like the boxboard or corrugate are bailed and returned to mills where they are recycled back into linerboard.

Motivation for Change

This is an existing package in the marketplace. It is an evolution of the past 15 years of cost saving initiatives.

Cost Effectiveness

The majority of the raw materials are produced within 804 kilometres of the packaging site, thus minimizing freight costs and adverse effects of the environment. The ratio of the cost of the package to the cost of the product is 4:1. This package has minimal affect on the total system costs and life cycle expenses due to the labels and glass being recyclable and the corrugated being obtained from renewable tree farms. The kilometres traveled information was obtained from the Wal-Mart scorecard.


This entry does maximize cube utilization.

Clean Production

Molson has been reducing water consumption through utilities management teams for the past number of years. All Canadian breweries get their water from municipal utility suppliers and discharge effluent back to them where it is typically treated and discharged back into the environment. Breweries also treat their incoming water to ensure only the highest quality water is used in their products. While Molson observes good environmental practices, we have not sought environmental certifications. Molson employs good environmental practices and audits all of the facilities to ensure both regulatory compliance and conformance to company environmental standards but they have not sought ISO 14000 certification.

Effective Recovery

All of the glass bottles are required by Canadian law to be returned. The bottles are reused between 12-15 times and 98% of the bottles are returned for re-use. The cartons used to package these materials are returned to the brewery and are recycled through paper mills, and are also sold to “Cobblestone packaging”, a company that resells them as boxes. Also, all secondary material (Boxboard, corrugate, partitions) are bailed and returned to mills like Kruger in Montreal where they are recycled back into linerboard. Molson uses much more boxboard than cardboard – less energy is used to make boxboard. The corrugate carton is optimally designed to hold the bottles for return. Label material is collected at the plant level and is pulped and recycled. The resulting material is used to produce roofing shingles. This package can be recovered and utilized in the recycled life cycle. Compatible recovery infrastructure does exist locally.

Material Health

All inks used in the packaging are vegetable grade.

Resource & Energy Optimization

Molson uses returnable/refillable glass bottles – 98% are returned and reused 15-20 times. Other packaging materials, including cardboard and boxboard, are being recaptured at a 95% rate. New material corrugate boxes are also sold and reused by other vendors. Molson has publicly stated their goals to reduce energy usage 3-5% per year. In Canada, the goal is 5% for 2008. No green power yet, but Molson is working on a project to install digesters that will provide up to 20% of their fuel. Molson has completed a high level carbon footprint by plant. It is based on energy usage alone at this time.

Categories: PAC Award Winner Paper & Board Food and Beverage