If you have been wondering what to do with your leftover Paktechs after draining those cans and bottles of all that delicious craft beer, 42 North Brewing has a new sustainability program tailor made for you. You know Paktechs, right – aka those plastic holders that you’re never quite sure if you should keep, toss in the recycling or deposit in the nearest garbage can? Hopefully you have been hanging onto them because now you can turn them in for free beer. Yes, you read that right. FREE. BEER.

Hoping to ‘bridge the gap between the booming local craft beer industry and the world of sustainable living,’ you can now bring 10 or more re-usable/undamaged Paktechs (4-pack or 6-pack) to the taproom to be re-used or recycled (one free pint per day per person) as part of 42 North’s new program, a small “thank you” from them to you for going green.

“More and more small to mid-sized craft breweries are canning their beer and more and more of these breweries are using Paktechs to combat the higher cost of box packaging,” 42 North’s Brand Manager Zach Keller says. “This is both a great thing and a problem. We’re trying to mitigate the environmental impact problem packaged beer creates. Many times the lifecycle of a can carrier ends with the consumer not knowing how to dispose of it and we hope that this program will extend the product’s lifecycle and keep it out of landfills.”

According to the manufacturer, returning Paktechs has kept over 46,000,000 pounds of plastic out of landfills and oceans. 42 North plans to reuse the undamaged Paktechs for their own can packaging and properly recycle those that cannot be re-used on-site.

“You also see this in the cannabis industry boom and the issue they’ve had with packaging,” Keller continues. “Single-use plastic packaging is easy and cheap for the manufacturer but also creates tons of waste. How can we provide functional, safe and practical packaging practices that keep these plastics out of the trash or off the side of the road? Our idea was to create a way for folks to bring them back to the brewery so we can reuse them.”

When plastic milk jugs and similar containers are recycled, they are turned into PCR to make Paktechs. In 2018, more than 103 million plastic jugs were repurposed into the handles you use to carry your packs of craft beer. When Paktechs are recycled, they are then transformed into Post-Consumer Resin (PCR) to make more Paktechs or things like park benches & planter pots. According to reports, PCR production uses 90% less energy, 100% less petroleum and emits 78% less greenhouse gasses vs. virgin plastic production. Paktechs also generate a lower environmental impact that the paperboard or boxboard systems in all life-cycle metrics.

“As the craft beer industry grows, so does the environmental footprint. Our hope is that other craft breweries follow suit and we can mitigate that impact before it gets out of hand,” says brewery Production Manager Hannah Trujillo. “We feel this is an opportunity for breweries to band together and show the public we are committed to keeping this industry sustainable while also producing more beer. We think this can catch on, at least locally.”

Learn more about what a Paktech is and 42 North’s Paktech Return Program at bit.ly/ 42NPaktechReturn.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBAs enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.