A second life for Four Loko: as an alternative fuel source

If you've been asking yourself what is to become of all of those un-purchased cans of Four Loko alcohol-laced energy drinks produced before the Food and Drug Administration cracked down on the sale of such beverages, never-fear. We found the answer.

It seems that truckloads of Four Loko and other alcohol-laced energy drinks are being recycled into ethanol and other products.

Last November, the FDA issued warning letters to four companies who manufacturered the drinks. The FDA says the beverages’ combination of caffeine and alcohol can lead to a “wide-awake drunk.” The agency called the caffeine an “unsafe food additive,” and that consuming the drinks has led to alcohol poisoning, car accidents and assaults.

The four companies targeted by the FDA have since either pulled their beverages from stores or reformulated them to remove caffeine or other stimulants.

But what to do with all of the pre-manufactured pallets of "blackout in a can?"

Wholesalers have been buying back the canned drinks from retailers to get them off the market and re-directing them to recycling plants.

It seems that recycling plants can distill the alcohol from the drinks, then sell the fuel to be blended into gasoline. The aluminum cans are then sent to a recycler. The drinks’ water, cardboard packaging and shipping pallets can also be recycled.

“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,” said Brian Potter, vice president of operations at MXI Environment Services who is accepting truckloads of Four Loko.

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