Heineken launches online open innovation platform seeking new ideas for reuse, recycling of beer packaging, sustainable packaging materials, sustainable ways to distribute or transport its products

LOS ANGELES , April 3, 2012 () –

Heineken N.V. has launched an online open innovation platform that seeks ideas from the public on making the Dutch brewer’s products more sustainable, the company indicated on its website.

Specifically, Heineken is looking for solutions to increasing the reuse and recycling of its beer packaging, new packaging materials with significantly improved life cycle analysis and more sustainable ways to distribute and transport its products.

Participants are asked to consider what type of new materials would “significantly improve the LCA of beer packaging,” while taking into account the limitations. Beer packaging is always under pressure and must keep carbon dioxide in the beer and oxygen out of it.

The company notes that some “seemingly good solutions are not suitable as beer containers,” giving as examples polylactic acid and polyethylene naphthalate. Currently, Heineken packs its beer in both returnable and nonreturnable glass, aluminum, steel and polyethylene terephthalate casing.

Recycling and reusing of packaging remains a challenge as many consumers consider it a hassle to empty bottles or bring them to recycling centers. Some countries do not have redemption or recycling centers, Heineken noted.

“When thinking about solutions to the challenge, think of the principles of reusing and recycling materials,” the company states in its website.

Heineken also seeks ideas that would “maximize transport efficiency” in a sustainable way. A solution could “capture all three categories” of the platform’s challenge, but doesn’t have to.

On the Amsterdam-based company’s platform, residents of locations that do not restrict such activities are invited to submit their ideas and encouraged to promote those ideas on social networks.

The number of votes received on social networking sites could boost the chances of the idea being selected by Heineken for entry into the challenge’s second stage, in which 100 winners will be invited to work together with Heineken on the concept.

An overall winner chosen by a panel of external experts and Heineken innovation directors will receive US$10,000 and a place in Heineken’s history, the company said.

Due to local rules, the challenge is open to residents of Austria, Brazil, Canada (excluding Quebec and Yukon), China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. (excluding California).

However, even the locations not listed are encouraged to share and vote as the next challenge could take a different approach that would allow the entries not currently permitted, according to Heineken.

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