I can see along my jogging route that Amstel has returned to South Africa. The green cans are starting to litter the road. Until Amstel gets a brewery up and running in South Africa, which could take two years, these are imported from Europe. And they are arriving in aluminium cans.
Two new issues thus face the Amstel drinker. One is that transporting a case of beer from, say, Rotterdam to Durban will send 1.6 kgs of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by my calculations, not to mention another half a kilogram if it needs to be trucked to Gauteng. When bottles arrive in a couple of months, you can double those figures for the extra weight. If that makes you want to check out whether local can be lekker, SAB is pointing Amstel drinkers in the direction of Hansa Marzen Gold. It’s also worth noting that some premium “foreign” beers, such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro are now brewed in South Africa. Heineken comes from next door in Namibia.
The second issue is that making the aluminium cans containing that Amstel probably created more greenhouse gases than shipping it here did. If the cans were made with coal-fired electricity, 24 cans caused 4.5 kgs of C02 to be released. I reported about the vices of aluminium and the virtues of recycling it in this post.
Throw away that can, and you throw all of the energy away with it. Recycle it and 95 percent of the energy is saved. With a packet full of aluminium cans (mostly collected on my jogs) I can really light up the face of the scrap collector who rings the bell at my gate each Monday asking for the white office paper I save for him. If you must drink Amstel from Europe, make sure somebody benefits.