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Four Loko: Alcoholic Energy Drink to Be Guzzled by Gas Tanks

The controversial drink Four Loko, is hitting store shelves with a new formula that keeps the high alcohol content but gets rid of the caffeine. As the new legal formula, which is caffeine-free, begins to stock up on store shelves, the old formula is being converted to fuel for consumption by automobiles.

The original formula known to get people hyper-caffeinated and super-drunk in a very short amount of time was banned by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2010. The FDA claimed the combination of a high caffeine content mixed with a high alcohol content was harmful and could potentially cause seizures in people drinking one or more containers of the beverage.

The FDA has since placed a ban on all beverages mixing the two substances in one formula.

Many retailers stuck with cases of the banned drink mixture are now sending their unsold stock of Four Loko to MXI Environmental services in Virginia, a recycling plant. There, they are processing the once sickly drink into Ethanol, which is then processed and sold to companies that will turn it into gasoline to be sold to consumers at fuel pumps.

The recycling company is equipped to process 8,000 cases of the pungent drink a day and they are at full capacity, said Brian Potter, VP of operations at MXI.

Every part of the alcoholic energy drink is capable of being broken down and recycled including the water, aluminum, cardboard packaging and even the shipping palates they are being delivered on.  In all, about 30 different products will be transformed from the expelled drink into recycled counterparts.

Approximately 1 million cases of Four Loko will be recycled into ethanol in 2011, which is less than 1/3 of the remaining cases.

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