Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is the first to receive the US Zero Waste Business Council’s platinum certification — the highest possible rating — for successfully diverting 99.8 percent of its waste.
The company says its waste-management efforts also saved some $5,398,470 in avoided disposal costs and $903,308 in 2012 revenue, which we believe is called "proving the business case." By diverting 51,414 tons from landfill and incineration, Sierra Nevada avoided 11,812 tons of carbon dioxide, according to USZWBC.
USZWBC audited the Zero Waste diversion processes at Sierra Nevada in Chico, Calif. and found that the facility is successfully reducing, reusing, recycling and composting at an unprecedented rate.
The goal of businesses participating in the Zero Waste Certification program is to divert all end-use material from landfill, incineration and the environment, while achieving a minimum of 90 percent diversion based on the standards set by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA). Sierra Nevada is exceeding this by 9.8 percent, USZWBC says.
"Resource conservation is important to me and I've always felt it's the right way to do business," said Ken Grossman, owner and founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. "Everyone at Sierra Nevada participates in our Zero Waste efforts and takes pride in what we do. Although we have built a great Zero Waste program, we will continue to look for ways to improve."
Sierra Nevada’s shipping pallets are rebuilt locally and employees are given an insulated Klean Kanteen drink container and a reusable ChicoBag on their first day to help them get into the habit of reuse. The company collects single-sided paper to turn into employee notepads, and the same boxes in which bottle caps are delivered are saved and reused to ship T-shirts.
Given the lack of regional composting facilities, Sierra Nevada was the first in the U.S. to install a HotRot composter, which in 2012 converted 261 tons of organic waste from the brewery and restaurant into rich compost which was then used in the company's estate hop field, barley field, restaurant garden and employee garden.
In April, Sierra Nevada and two-dozen other craft brewers partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to support strong clean water policies. The “Brewers for Clean Water” campaign focused on protecting the brewing industry’s key ingredient: clean water.
In related beer news (yay), UK brewery Adnams recently became the first brewer to measure the carbon footprint of its entire range of bottled beers, estimating that one bottle is equivalent to traveling 5.3 miles by train. And last month, Hofmühl Brewery in Eichstätt, Bavaria announced that it will be net-zero by 2018, thanks to a combination of solar and bioenergy.