Waste Not
How Employee Engagement Helped All MillerCoors' Major Breweries Go Landfill-Free

MillerCoors, the second largest brewer in the US, announced on Wednesday that all of its major breweries have achieved landfill-free operations.

The Fort Worth Brewery in Texas was the final of its eight sites to reach the milestone, after the facility engaged a 'Sustainability Employee Council' that focused on changing employee behaviors and making recycling easier and more accessible.

“We didn’t reach this milestone overnight, nor can we attribute success to one department, one brewery or one employee,” MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley said. “The entire MillerCoors family is committed to ensuring a sustainable future for our company and the communities in which we work and live.”

The Fort Worth Brewery reduced its waste by 30 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. Now, nearly 100 percent of brewery waste - including protein-rich residual brewer’s grain and spent yeast, glass cullet, aluminum, plastic, wood and other materials - is recycled or reused, with the small amount of remaining waste going to a waste-to-energy facility. MillerCoors’ Trenton Brewery in Ohio, which was the company's first brewery to achieve landfill-free operations, even produces fish and animal feed.

“As we continue our journey to brew a sustainable future, maintaining landfill-free operations at all our major breweries will make a significant impact,” said Kim Marotta, MillerCoors’ Director of Sustainability. “While we continuously strive to reduce waste, we will also remain focused on our other sustainability priorities, including preventing drunk driving, further decreasing our water use, lowering our carbon emissions, and making greater investment in our people and our communities.”

MillerCoors aims to achieve landfill-free operations at all of its major manufacturing sites in the US by 2020.

In an interview with edie, Marotta disclosed that water consumption would also be a big focus area going forward, and that employees were also driving those improvements.

"Our employees are constantly looking for ways to make small changes within the brewing process to reduce water use," Marotta said. "Within our supply chain, we look for partners to collaborate with - from local water conservation groups to our individual barley growers, whose insights and knowledge help us brew beer more sustainably."

In an e-mail to Sustainable Brands, Marotta added: "Achieving landfill-free status across MillerCoors major breweries was only possible because of the hard work and dedication of our employees at all levels. Each of our breweries engaged a small group that was dedicated to finding sustainable solutions and educating their colleagues. Simple changes like voluntarily removing trash bins from offices and color coding recyclable bins have helped change and reshape the behaviors of our employees. The passion of our people to brew beer more sustainably is why we continue to rely on employee leadership as we work to achieve landfill-free operations at all our major manufacturing sites in the U.S. by 2020."

On top of that, a recent internal survey revealed that 95 percent of new employees strongly agree or agree that the environment is a top priority for MillerCoors.

MillerCoors is among the members of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER), which launched a tool in September to help facilities better estimate their “true cost” of water.

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