Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saving the beaches one beer at a time

Recently I've been seeing news floating around about a machine that turns glass bottles into sand:

DB Breweries from New Zealand created the machine as a way to create sand for construction companies to eliminate the amount of sand taken from beaches. This reminds me of the Weinberg reading from class which evaluates creativity in the form of problem-solving.

DB Breweries saw the need to reduce beach erosion (something that I'm a smaller Island such as New Zealand notices greatly) and used that motivation to fuel the creative process and deliver an ingenious product. One can also presume that the company was motivated by the commercial aspects of releasing such a creative, environmentally responsible machine and advertising the social, fun uses for it (I mean who doesn't want to drink a beer and then see the bottle turn to sand, almost as if by magic?).

Through the creation of this machine, DB Breweries breaks away from past, traditional marketing strategies, as well as past approaches to saving beaches in order to create a unique and effective solution.

I hope to see more creative endeavors like this in the future with less commercial motivation.


  1. I think you're right to highlight the commercial interests at play with this creation. There is certainly a trendiness to sustainable fun, and I think that capitalizing on that should be noted. However, with the knowledge that very few good deeds are inherently selfless, it is worth applauding the work of those who seek profits through engagement and community betterment.

  2. This is a really cool idea. It kind of reminds of states that implement a bottle bill (i.e. you pay an extra 5 cents on a bottle of beer purchased but have the option to return the empty bottle back to a store for the 5 cents back) on beverages. I wonder if going forward the company could expand these machines and allow consumers to earn a small refund for the bottles they return (i.e. a couple cents per bottle). This may encourage greater usage of the machines and further contribute to the companies commitment to sustainability.

  3. I think this creative idea is a great one. It takes something that is widely used and transforms it into something that can be used to help save the environment. Problem solving is definitely a key part of this creative process, if the beaches continue to erode because of sand needs, it will have a huge negative impact on the environment. I hope to see this machine in wide use, especially in places where public drinking is not against the law. Having beer bottles littered across the beach is not a pleasing site. Putting them to good use will provide effective clean up and create more sand. Maybe they can expand this to cans as well, since beer/soda cans are also a huge source of litter on public beaches.

  4. It is interesting to find out that DB Breweries has unveiled another idea since “Brewtroleum”, which turned brewing yeast (also from beer) into biofuel. Their continuous contributions to the field demonstrates several instances of creativity instead of a single idea. In this particular case, it seems that the creativity is “motivated by the enjoyment and satisfaction that a person derives from engaging in the creative activity” (298, Collins and Amabile). They are determined to find uses involving beer, and combine leisure and resourcefulness. I wonder, however, what changes would need to be brought about worldwide in order to use this idea – cost, marketing, etc. From my understanding, the only bottle that the machine can reduce is that of DB Export, which brings to question whether those beer bottles are made specifically to then be smashed by the machine. If so, I wonder what the cost of application is, since DB Breweries is currently owned by Heineken International. So, would all beer companies need to make machine friendly bottles or is the machine able to process them as is? It is rather incredible that the machine is able to reduce the bottle to sand in a mere five seconds and I look forward to seeing its future expansion.

  5. This is very interesting; thanks for sharing. The phenomenon of using social justice tactics as a marketing tool is a truly creative way to do "good", while getting noticed and pulling in profit. It's a win-win. I think this is the future of companies' success: creative marketing through sustainability initiatives. I hope companies continue to come up with creative ways to benefit others while allowing their own market to grow. Inclusive and successful public-private commitment and partnerships are crucial in society.


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