No bottle, no beer

UNDER pressure to increase the rate of return of returnable glass bottles (RGB), and in response to continuing supply chain disruptions, Red Stripe has announced the extension of its ‘Full for Empties’ (FFE) policy.

The policy requires customers to return an empty bottle to purchase a full bottle of Red Stripe products.

With the extension of the policy, previously exempt channels — namely supermarket chains, independent supermarkets, gas stations and convenience stores, and hotels — are now included in the FFE.

The extension of the policy came into effect on Monday, August 15.

In a letter to customers dated August 3, Red Stripe reiterated its continued commitment to maintaining a consistent and stable supply of products to the market.

Red Stripe’s Head of Commercial Sean Wallace asserted that an important part of that commitment is the ‘Red-Cycling’ programme, which is the centrepiece of the company’s sustainability efforts to protect the environment and ensure circularity in its operations.

The programme aims to increase the rate of return of bottles so they can be put back into the production cycle, and as such make them readily available to customers and consumers.

“Using RGB allows us to both reduce the environmental impact of our operations and also to reduce the costs of our products to our consumers,” explained Wallace.

He underscored the continuing impact of supply chain disruptions, caused by the pandemic and exacerbated by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, on the availability of glass bottles.

“Since introducing the FFE policy last year we have seen a marked improvement in the rate of bottle returns, which has subsequently allowed us to provide more products to the Jamaican market.

“While we understand and fully empathise with the inconveniences the policy has caused some customers and consumers, the inconvenient truth is that Jamaica does not produce the glass bottles used to package our products. This reality leaves manufacturers, like us, vulnerable to external shocks in the global economy and supply chain,” said Wallace.

He continued, “Our RGB strategy will not only ensure a consistent supply of products for our customers and consumers, but [will] also play a significant role in achieving our long-term environmental and sustainability goals. These goals include the greater recycling of materials, the subsequent reduction in waste entering landfills, and [will] result in reduced costs to our consumers. Therefore, by increasing the rate of bottle returns we hope to achieve long-term benefits for our customers and consumers.”

Wallace expressed continued appreciation for customers’ ongoing understanding and cooperation, and urged consumers to support the measure by returning their empties promptly as part of an active ‘buy-drink-return’ approach.

Bottles can be returned to most points of sale, including wholesales, community bars, mini-marts, grocery shops, supermarkets and liquor stores. The public may also return their empties to 214 Exchange, Red Stripe’s outlet store in Kingston located at 214 Spanish Town Road, as well as to any of the company’s six distribution centres located in Kingston, Mandeville, Discovery Bay, Montego Bay, Annotto Bay and Savanna-la-Mar.

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