Blog Post

Although not accepted in typical residential or commercial single stream recycling programs in Massachusetts, plastic beer can toppers are often labeled with a recycling symbol that can be misleading for beer drinkers in the state. While some companies collect and reuse these can toppers, the reuse and recycling infrastructure for this material is still nascent. As such, they often end up going for disposal, and represent potential contamination for recycling facilities. As reported by The Boston Globe and MassLive, the team of Ecofriendly Beer Drinker, the Mass Brewers Guild, and GreenLabs Recycling recently teamed up to help breweries address this challenge.

Having identified an opportunity for increased diversion, Rob Vandenabeele of Ecofriendly Beer Drinker contacted RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) in March 2021. RecyclingWorks played a supportive role to Ecofriendly Beer Drinker as they developed a new pilot program for recycling this material.

RecyclingWorks developed recycling signage for breweries to use in collection areas.

Ecofriendly Beer Drinker and Mass Brew Bros are partnering with GreenLabs Recycling to offer a collection and recycling pilot. The initiative brought together a group of environmentally-focused breweries in the Metro Boston area, creating a network of locations where beer drinkers can return their toppers to be reused or properly recycled. Participating businesses currently include Harpoon Beer Hall in South Boston, Lamplighter Brewing in Cambridge, Mighty Squirrel Brewing in Waltham, and Trillium’s two Boston locations. Ecofriendly Beer Drinker and Mass Brew Bros hope to expand these efforts to other parts of the state in the future. Breweries and retailers interested in participating in this pilot program can contact Ecofriendly Beer Drinker for more information.

RecyclingWorks also offers no-cost technical assistance to help breweries and brewpubs prevent waste, increase recycling, and establish organics diversion programs for spent grain, liquid byproducts, and food material. Visit our website for a variety of relevant online resources, including single stream recycling information, the Find a Recycler Tool, and guidance for restaurants. For inspiration, check out the RecyclingWorks case studies featuring Gardner Ale House and the Northampton Brewery. To speak to a RecyclingWorks recycling expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at