We reuse or recycle more than 99 percent of our brewery waste. That includes protein-rich residual brewer’s grain and spent yeast, glass cullet, aluminum, plastic, wood and other materials. We turn “waste” into energy, compost and soil conditioner for our own use. And we send the remaining by-products to companies that use them for other beneficial purposes.
In 2013, the Albany Brewery won the “Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful”
award. Throughout the year, the brewery assisted with community recycling programs, including cleaning the highway in front of the brewery and volunteering in a community electronic recycling program.
Waste to Landfill Performance
In 2013, we reduced waste to landfill by more than 1,300 tons, a 9 percent improvement from the previous year. We sent less than 2,000 tons of waste to landfill in 2013.
Converting Waste Beer Into Fuel-Grade Ethanol
Since 1996, our Golden Brewery has partnered with a facility (owned by Merrick & Company
) that produces more than 1 million gallons of ethanol per year. Ethanol is extracted from waste beer at the brewery through two stills. The end result is 200 proof, or essentially pure, ethanol. This pure ethanol is then mixed with gasoline to reduce automobile emissions. This process reduces the amount of wastewater treated at the wastewater treatment plant and reuses ethanol made at the brewery.
Landfill-Free Standards and Definitions
Because of our industry-leading success in reducing waste, we have been invited to participate on industry panels to help educate other organizations on becoming landfill-free. We are participating on an Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
independent standards and definitions panel to define what it means to be landfill-free. We have also joined the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council’s Business Advisory Board
, whose first goal is to develop a standardized third-party business certification program to recognize and motivate policies and practices for zero waste in the U.S.
Nothing Wasted: Golden and Albany Become Landfill-Free
In 2013, we celebrated a groundbreaking year, achieving landfill-free status at our breweries in Golden, Colo. and Albany, Ga. Six of our eight major breweries are now landfill-free. Tyler Shannon is Environmental Health and Safety Specialist at MillerCoors Golden Brewery, the largest single-site brewery in the U.S. He has been at the center of waste reduction efforts at the brewery, where more than 99.9 percent of waste is reused or recycled and diverted from landfills.
But Tyler notes that achieving landfill-free status takes teamwork. At the Albany Brewery, representatives from every operating department brainstormed ways to reduce and reuse waste. They recycle everything from office paper to scrap aluminum. By making small changes to everyday activities and modest investments in infrastructure and equipment, MillerCoors has been able to cut waste to landfill across its eight major breweries by 79.2 percent since 2008.