MillerCoors Sustainability Report: Cuts Water Use 1%, Meets Waste Goal
In 2010 MillerCoors used 4.11 units of water to make one unit of beer, or a ratio of 4.11:1. In 2011 this figure fell to 4.07:1. By 2015 MillerCoors hopes to achieve a water-to-beer ratio of 3.50:1.
The company’s Fort Worth Brewery performed best in 2011 with a 3.53:1 water-to-beer ratio. Five of MillerCoors’ eight major breweries achieved water-to-beer ratios under 4.00:1. The industry average is 5.00:1, the company says.
In 2011, MillerCoors completed construction of a new $5 million cooling system at its Milwaukee brewery. The new system uses recirculated water rather than fresh incoming water, saving 100 million gallons annually — enough to fill 1 billion 12-ounce cans.
The company’s Golden, Colo., brewery last year substituted bleach for hot water in some of its sterilization processes. This move speeds up the sterilization process and more efficiently uses steam, electricity and water, and reduced water usage by 2 percent for every barrel of beer processed through the three transfer lines converted. Golden Brewery is planning to convert additional lines to this process in 2012, the report says.
The company has reduced the amount of waste it sends to landfill by 55 percent since 2008, surpassing its revised 2015 goal by 5 percentage points four years early. In 2010 the company had reduced the amount of waste it sent to landfill by 32 percent over 2008 levels. This achievement meant that the company had exceeded its initial 2015 goal of a 15 percent reduction over 2008 levels. MillerCoors is now investigating a new waste target.
In 2011, the company’s Eden, N.C., brewery established a new recycling center with a cardboard baler, aluminum baler and recycling containers. At year-end, the Eden facility reduced, reused or recycled 92 percent of its waste — and is committed to ultimately achieving zero-waste-to-landfill, the report says.
A change in the way recyclables are loaded onto trucks at the company’s Trenton, N.J., facility increased the tonnage from 8.3 to almost 12 tons per trailer, removing 11 trailers from the road and saving more than 2,300 truck miles in 2011, the report says.
The company reuses or recycles 99 percent of waste that emanates directly from the brewing process. Waste is turned into energy, compost and soil conditioner for the brewer’s own use. The remaining by-products are sent to companies that use them for other purposes. For instance, by-products from the Albany, N.Y., brewery are used to fertilize crops on an on-site 600-acre hay farm and 700-acre tree farm.
MillerCoors parent company SABMiller recently adopted the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for calculating energy use. MillerCoors adopted the new method starting in 2011 and, as a result, the report has limited energy use information on the period between the baseline year and this year.
Between 2008 and 2011 the company reduced its energy intensity by almost 4.5 percent from 161 to 154 MJ of energy per hectoliter of beer. By 2015 the company is targeting a 15 percent reduction in this metric over 2008 levels. The report says it is on track to meet this goal.
Energy initiatives implemented in 2011 include the installation of an electric vehicle charger at the company’s Irwindale, Calif., brewery, allowing employees to commute via electric vehicle. In Albany, N.Y., MillerCoors applied a white coating of around 500,000 square feet to its packing hall roof. The coating reflects around 87 percent of the sun’s rays, making the facility more energy efficient.
By 2015 MillerCoors it targeting a two percent reduction in its packaging weight over 2008 levels. In 2010 it had reduced it packaging weight by 0.5 percent over 2008. In 2011 it had reduced this metric by 0.66 percent over the baseline year. (See graphic below.)
Last year the company reduced its paperboard usage by more than 1 million pounds by standardizing its six-pack bottle paperboard containers to a single design. Also in 2011, the Irwindale brewery switched from full cartons to trays for the manufacture and distribution of 24-ounce-can 12-packs, saving nearly 560,000 pounds of corrugated paper in three months.
The MillerCoors report was complied using the Global Reporting Initiative 3.1 reporting framework. The report achieved application level “C.”
MillerCoors’ parent company SABMiller released its 2011 sustainability report in July.
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