Plastics have revolutionised so many aspects of our everyday life, from clothing to food & drink containers, to car & airplane parts, to building materials, solar panels and medical devices, the list is almost endless. It would be impossible to eliminate the use of plastics completely and there are many false economies in the proposed use of alternative materials which will have more of an environmental impact in terms of water and energy usage. It is accepted by environmental scientists that the use of plastic forms part of the global carbon reduction effort. Regardless, in the short term the management of plastic waste needs to be dramatically improved, plastics can be recycled as many countries have proven. Unfortunately, many developing countries were supplied with cheap plastic products and packaging but there was neither the finances nor political will to ensure proper waste management or recycling infrastructure. Hence, the terrible spectra of plastic waste in every corner of our oceans. It is a truly shocking statistic that less than 10% of plastic is recycled globally on a yearly basis.
The SURF liners developed by SBT utilise the minimum amount of plastic to ensure the system integrity, a 1000L liner uses less than 0.65kg of plastic which equates to less than 0.65g/L beer. This is very little considering the fact that approximately 50g of plastic is required to make the bottle used to hold 1L of soda.
To ensure that used SURF liners are properly disposed of and recycled, SBT includes a financial incentive in the product pricing. An environmental surcharge is included in the cost of each initial liner purchased, once the brewer proves that the used liners have been properly disposed of all future liners are surcharge free. The proof can be in the form of a photograph of the liner being placed in a recycling container at a recycling centre.
SURF Brew Tech will be the first to embrace a viable biodegradable plastic in its products and hopefully the current focus on the plastic waste problem will lead to advances in this field.