While it may earn Germany bragging rights in the beer drinking world, it certainly won’t win them any friends in the environmentalist community. Germans are drinking so much beer, so quickly, this summer that breweries simply can’t keep up with the demand, and are running out of containers to distribute their product because customers aren’t recycling their beer bottles fast enough. While Germany is generally on top of its recycling game — each beer bottle is refilled up to 30 times, explains NPR — the demand for beer right now is simply higher than the rate of glass return.
It’s become so bad that Greif Brewery had to implore their customers to return empty bottles, or else face a bleak future without beer. “We’ve had a beer bottle shortage since the middle of May, Greif Brewery employee Christian Schuster told public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk. “We can’t get hold of used ones fast enough, and ordering new ones takes time. I’m having to send my delivery guys out to look for old, empty bottles.”
Much of the problem is due to a widespread misconception that aluminum cans are not environmentally friendly, so Germans are increasingly opting for bottles. To top it off, Germans tend to think that drinking beer out of a can is “cheap and a bit trashy”, explains German beer drinker Marcel Hillebrand for NPR.
Germany should probably figure out a solution to their beer bottle shortage before there’s no more glass beer bottle to drink from and they’ll have to resort to undignified aluminium cans.