Social media post sparks cooperation between city, Calgary brewery

Incentive possible for customers returning PakTech can holders to Calgary brewery

Outcast Brewing co-founders (and spouses) Patrick Schnarr (left) and Krysten Westlake with their reusable PakTech can holders. PHOTO BY BAILEY GINGRAS-HAMILTON FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

One tweet can be all it takes to divert plastic from Calgary’s landfills.

When Outcast Brewing tweeted the City of Calgary on Jan. 8 about reusing PakTech can holders instead of throwing them out, it only took one day for the city to respond in support of the initiative.

“I sent a tweet out (to the City of Calgary) … didn’t expect a reply and woke up the next morning with 500 retweets and 300 likes,” said Patrick Schnarr, Outcast Brewing co-founder and brewmaster.

An Instagram post by Tool Shed Brewing Company, responding to the city’s inability to recycle the can holders, inspired Schnarr to reach out.

“I got linked to the post on the City of Calgary’s website that says ‘no, unfortunately, they have to be thrown out’… that is where I said this is ridiculous,” he said.

“Breweries have been taking these in from customers for a long time.”

PakTech can holders are made of a durable plastic that can be reused by local breweries to package cans together. They simply snap on top the cans, saving time during the packaging process for brewers as well. Although this method of packaging is more expensive than traditional plastic circle rings, it’s much more efficient.

According to the City of Calgary, they can’t accept all forms of plastic due to their large-scale and robust recycling system, and there are too many specialty plastics to track them directly.

Therefore, they said they’re happy to support a local business solution that consumers can do at home. The City of Calgary is aiming to update their website with PakTech reuse information sometime next week.

Incentive to return can holders

There could also be customer incentives to return PakTech can holders. Schnarr said that Outcast Brewing plans to offer a small discount for customers that return can holders. He describes it as being a “token of appreciation” for customers.

Even though PakTech can holders cost about 23 cents each, Schnarr says that he isn’t considering the financial benefits of reusing them.

“It effectively costs the city nothing to do, and it costs people nothing to do, and it keeps a ton of plastic out of the landfill that doesn’t need to be there,” he said.

UPDATE: The city had updated their site as of Sunday.

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