Cases of Four Loko and other alcohol-spiked energy drinks are on their way to MXI Environmental Services in Virginia where they’ll be turned into ethanol and other products. Wholesalers from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and other East Coast states are sending truckloads of the stuff to be recycled following a ‘crackdown’ by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November, according to yesterday’s Salon.
Last fall, Ramapo College in northern New Jersey banned the drinks after six students were taken to the hospital after drinking cans of Four Loko. Several college students noted that ‘Four Loko and similar drinks were catching on among their peers because they were cheap and potent yet did not taste like alcohol.’
Also, the drinks are highly accessible. One of my students told me that they could be purchased at CVS, not to mention convenience stores like 7-11.
On November 17, the FDA sent letters to four companies producing the alcohol-laced, caffeinated drinks noting that consumption of them can render a person a “wide-awake drunk.” (Indeed, the drinks have been referred to as ‘blackout in a can.’) The letters were sent to Phusion Projects, Charge Beverages Corp., New Century Brewing Co. and United Brands Company Inc. Two years ago, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors removed their Bud Extra, Tilt and Sparks drinks from the market after pressure from their state’s attorney generals.
According to Brian Potter, vice president of operations at MXI’s facility in Abington, Virginia, the alcohol is distilled from the drinks and then sold so it can be blended into gasoline. The aluminum cans are sold to a recycler and the drinks’s water, cardboard packaging and shipping pallets are all recycled, too.
It’s been asked if Four Loko and drinks like it should be banned. Hopefully hearing that these ‘beverages’ can be turned into ethanol—gasoline—will make people realize how bad this stuff is and certainly not something that you want to drink.
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