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Hell-Bent on Recycling Aluminum Cans

© by Nicholas Demetriades

On July 21st, HELL Energy Group, an energy and soft drink producer based in Hungary, together with the aluminum company Hydro, signed a contract to introduce the greenest beverage can in the world. According to HELL, the beverage can body sheet for the whole portfolio will be produced from Hydro CIRCAL, the prime-quality recycled aluminum with a certified content minimum of 75% recycled post-consumer scrap. The aluminum production process is fully traceable, and the product is certified by an independent third party.

Similarly, HELL has pledged to reduce the share of plastic bottles in their portfolio to 1% by 2025. Plastic bottles can only be recycled a finite number of times, unlike aluminum that can be recycled infinitely without any loss to the quality of the metal. The Aluminum Association and the Can Manufacturers Institute released a study in 2019 that found that consumers recycle aluminum cans at nearly double the rate of glass or plastic bottles. The average recycled content for an aluminum can produced in the U.S. rose from 70 to 73% in 2018, compared to 23% for glass and only 3% for plastic.

The commitment to produce the greenest beverage can while simultaneously reducing plastic production is a major sustainability milestone for the group, which claims they are the only known beverage manufacturer that is able to offer low carbon can packaging to their worldwide customers and consumers.

HELL’s strategy is based on responsible sourcing of aluminum with a low carbon footprint as part of a closed-loop recycling system. The company plans on reducing global emissions and creating products for a low carbon future. The company says they have already achieved cutting their greenhouse gases by 60% when compared to the packaging they’ve used in the past.

“We aspire to lead the market and be the global benchmark by providing low carbon packaging for our consumers,” said Barnabas Csereklye, managing director of HELL Energy and ceo of Quality Pack. “This is why we have committed ourselves to the innovation of Hydro, that is by far the most sustainable solution for our market.”

A Peek into HELL

HELL Energy Group built its own, and Hungary’s first, aluminum beverage can factory (called Quality Pack) in 2017. Since then, the company has been recycling 100% of its own industrial scrap as a part of its responsible governance. Their products are available in more than 50 countries, and they are a market leader in many of those countries.

Apart from the classic beverages (32 mg/100 ml caffeine content, fruit medley flavor), the brand offers a variety of others, such as their HELL Strong products with +20% caffeine for “especially challenging situations” or HELL Zero sugar-free product family. The company’s mission is to follow the trends and produce functional beverages that contain something extra on top of the usual energy drink ingredients. This led to the creation of HELL String Focus with added magnesium and L-carnitine, and HELL Energy Active, with BCAA and L-carnitine content as well as 60% less sugar aimed towards those leading an active, health-conscious lifestyle.

The company’s slogan is, “Gives you power like hell.” Their first international marketing milestone was a two-year sponsorship deal with the AT&T Williams Formula 1 Team, where HELL became a pioneer among Hungarian companies and second in the energy drink sector to enter the world of Formula 1 Racing.

Although their name may displease some potential customers, their actions prove the company is well-intentioned. Social responsibility is among HELL’s core corporate values. They are lighting the way for the industry to become more responsible with aluminum can recycling and they even organize charity events every year to support those in need.

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