We have been following the Four Loko story ever since the incident in Central Washington where several students were sent to the emergency room after consuming the product. There were cries to have the product banned, because of how dangerous it is to be drunk and wide awake. Last week, federal authorities told manufacturers that beverages like Four Loko were dangerous and caused users to become "wide-awake drunk". Now, several states have begun taking Four Loko off the shelves and sending the drink by the truckload to MXI Environmental Services in Virginia; MXI will recycle Four Loko and products like it into ethanol and other products. Vice president of operations at MXI's facility in Abingdon, Va., Brian Potter, said about a couple of hundred truckloads of the drinks would be coming to the plant, with each truck holding 2,000 cases of the 23.5-ounce cans.
"We're equipped to process four truckloads a day, and we're at full capacity," he said. "There are about 30 different products involved, and we've only seen a couple of them at this point. It could go on for several months". MXI distills the alcohol from the drinks which will then be sold and mixed into gasoline, Potter said. The aluminum cans will be sold to a recycler. Potter believes it takes "30 days until it's back on the shelf as another beer can." MXI will also recycle the drinks' water, cardboard packaging and shipping pallets. Four companies have been targeted by the FDA's sweep to keep product with caffeine and alcohol of the shelf:
- Phusion Projects
- Charge Beverages Corp.
- New Century Brewing Co.
- United Brands Company Inc.