Weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it was investigating caffeinated alcoholic beverages such as the now discontinued Four Loko, wholesalers of the drinks have begun recycling their product into ethanol.
Former Four Loko sippers you’ll be happy to know that your beloved drink will have a second life after all. Today, the Associated Press reported that truckloads of high-alcohol, caffeinated malt beverages would be recycled into ethanol and other products. Four companies (Phusion Projects, Charge Beverages Corp., New Century Brewing Co. and United Brands Company Inc.) were sent warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November regarding the combination of caffeine and alcohol causing a “wide awake drunk”.
Instead of trashing all of the unopened Four Lokos and their banned counterparts following the FDA crackdown, wholesalers from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and other states along the Eastern seaboard are sending cases to MXI Environmental Services in Abingdon, Virginia. Vice President of Operations, Brian Potter describes how each truck holds 2,000 cases of the 23.5-ounce cans. Potter also explains why turning the drink into ethanol is an environmentally conscious measure, saying:
“These are actually things that could go directly into a landfill or incinerator or some other waste process that’s not as environmentally friendly, so I think it’s a good thing. MXI distills the alcohol from the drinks, then sells the fuel to be blended into gasoline.”
The company also recycles the drinks’ water, cardboard packaging and shipping pallets, then sells the aluminum cans to a recycler where it takes roughly “30 days until it’s back on the shelf as another beer can.”
[via Associated Press]