MillerCoors’ Golden brewery is now landfill free, eliminating an average of 135 tons of waste monthly that was previously sent to landfill, the company says.
In addition to the Golden, Colo. facility, MillerCoors has already achieved landfill-free status at four of its other breweries. The company says no other breweries, including small craft or large national, have achieved landfill-free status.
Beginning in 2011, MillerCoors began reducing the municipal waste sent from the Golden brewery to landfill, complementing process improvements with about $1 million in new infrastructure and equipment, including new choppers, bailers and compactors. The brewery reuses or recycles 100 percent of waste, including all glass, paperboard, plastics, metal and brewing byproducts, such as spent grain. Residual refuse, such as cafeteria waste and floor sweepings, is sent to a waste-to-energy facility and used as an alternative fuel source to generate electricity.
Longtime MillerCoors brewery employee Kelly Harris was a driving force in the efforts, the company says. After conducting research, he developed and implemented a waste-reduction business plan that in 2010 led MillerCoors Trenton, Ohio, brewery to become the company’s first landfill-free facility and the world’s first zero-waste mega-brewery. Three other MillerCoors breweries — Shenandoah, Va.; Irwindale, Calif.; and Eden, NC — have also achieved landfill-free status.
The company says it’s working to implement similar changes at its other facilities.
According to MillerCoors’ 2011 sustainability report, published last summer, 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 in February announced it reduced overall water use across its eight major breweries in 2012 to 3.82 barrels of water per barrel of beer, a 6.1 percent decrease from 2011. This is its lowest water-to-beer ratio to date, the company says.