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Anheuser-Busch unveils the ‘National Recycling League’ ahead of Earth Day

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By Webb Wright | Junior Reporter

April 12, 2022 | 4 min read

The ‘multi-sports league coalition’ aims to reduce waste and position AB as an eco-conscious brand.

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A ‘recycling hawker’ in action / Weber Shandwick

Anheuser-Busch has launched the National Recycling League, a coalition of professional sports teams dedicated to promoting sustainability and reducing waste at sporting events. The coalition kicks off today in partnership with more than 10 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, including the Houston Astros, St Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals. It will ultimately extend to other pro sports leagues.

The announcement arrives just days before Earth Day (April 22), a national holiday that a growing number of brands and organizations have begun to recognize as the global climate crisis grows more dire.

The primary goals of the National Recycling League appear to be to boost awareness about recycling, reduce landfill waste and position Anheuser-Busch as an environmentally conscious brand. “At Anheuser-Busch, we approach everything we do – including sustainability – with an innovation mindset so that we can create an outsized impact,” Brendan Whitworth, chief executive of Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement. “Through the National Recycling League, we are thrilled to bring together our team partners and sports fans to work toward a shared dream of a future with less game-day waste and more cheers.”

Activations for the new program will include the distribution of recyclable aluminum cups, seat decals and signs within stadiums emblazoned with the slogan: ‘Recycle like a champion.’

In its communications about the new campaign, Anheuser-Busch points out that this is not the first time that it has spearheaded an effort aimed at mitigating its environmental impact. “The National Recycling League builds on Anheuser-Busch’s ongoing commitment to sustainable packaging and recycling – including through its 2025 Sustainability Goals and as a member of the Green Sports Alliance,” the brand said in a statement. “By 2025, Anheuser-Busch has committed that 100% of [its] packaging will be made from majority recycled content or will be returnable, which will make recycling A-B products on game day easier than ever.”

As part of the new program, A-B has enlisted a team of volunteers from Keep America Beautiful, a non-profit, to be deployed at sports arenas as “recycle hawkers.” The hawkers will, according to A-B, “collect used cups, cans and bottles from fans to ensure they are recycled properly” and “encourage fans to hand over their recyclables so that those items can be sorted from the trash and recycled.”

Anheuser-Busch is also hoping to boost consumer engagement around its new campaign by offering fans a chance to win free beer. “The city of the participating team which has the highest recycling rate during home games from Opening Day through May 31 will win a round of beer on Anheuser-Busch in celebration of their commitment to reducing waste on game day,” the company said in a statement.

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