In terms of packaging, improvements are certainly still very necessary. The quality of beer in bottles is very sensitive to sunlight, for example, which affects the taste of the beer. Cans protect the beers much better against light than bottles, but many consumers are still hesitant about this type of beer packaging. It is clear that in addition to the qualitative advantage, cans also offer a sustainability advantage in relation to bottles.
Deposit bottles can be reused many times, but not endlessly. They last about ten times before they have to be replaced. The transport of the deposit bottles is also a major cause of air pollution.Trucks have to transport them, full and empty and have to run up and down for them. This is where cans have an advantage as well, they weight less and are more compact: you can fit almost 50% more cans into one truck.
Rinsing deposit bottles and crates also uses up a lot of water. Disposable bottles do not have that problem, although they are often pre-washed - but for recycling glass, a lot of energy goes to waste. The same applies to cans, although the efficiency is much higher (glass has a recycling percentage of 68% and tin reaches more than 98%). Both are far from ideal, but we do not have better solutions yet.
Casks, actually similar to very large cans, are also endlessly rinsed and reused, and driven up and down full and empty. A lot of energy is used for that. More and more now we’re seeing disposable barrels made of plastic. Manufacturers are making efforts to ensure that these disposable barrels do not end up in the normal garbage but can be collected for reuse. These are initiatives that contribute to making the beer industry worldwide one of the most progressive and successful industries when it comes to sustainability. We should all drink to that!