Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages Go Green: Recycler Turns Them Into Ethanol

What's happening with all the Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic beverages that the Food and Drug Administration deemed unsafe back in November? Well, at least some of them are being reincarnated as fuel.

An Abingdon, Va.-based ethanol recycler, MXI Environmental Services, expects to receive as many as half a million cases of such beverages after East Coast wholesalers started throwing them out, the Associated Press reported Thursday. MXI, which can recycle about 8,000 cases of the 23.5-ounce beverages per day, will distill the beverages' alcohol content for use as fuel and sell the cans to an aluminum recycler.

East Coast beverage wholesalers started dumping the beverages after the FDA sent warning letters to the companies that produced Four Loko, Moonshot, Joose and other beverages that the caffeine included in the malt alcoholic drinks was an "unsafe food additive" and that the products "pose a public health concern."

The FDA said it would prohibit the sale of drinks such as Four Loko and Joose, which contain as much as three coffee cups worth of caffeine -- and as many as three beer cans worth of alcohol -- per can.