Diageo reduced waste to landfill by 53.4% in FY 2012-13, contributing to an overall reduction of 77.9% against its 2007 baseline. This has eliminated an estimated 80,000 metric tons of GHG emissions, equivalent to 11 percent of Diageo’s total emissions from direct operations, according to its latest sustainability report.
At its Ogba brewery in Lagos, Nigeria, the company cut waste by 53% in one year by eliminating the need for kieselguhr, a soft rock used for filtration.
Overall, 25 of Diageo’s operational sites have achieved zero waste to landfill, while 50 sites send less than one metric ton of waste to landfill. By 2015, the company aims to eliminate all landfilling from its operations. The target is challenging, Diageo says, but adds that it is making good progress. Where possible, the company says it aims to reuse or recycle the waste from operations in ways that bring benefits to the business, the environment, and local communities.
The vast majority of Diageo’s waste is non-hazardous, including kieselguhr; organic matter like yeast remaining from the brewing and distillation processes; and the pulped labels from bottles that the company recycles. Other waste streams include damaged packaging, sludge from wastewater treatment, boiler ash, and office waste. Less than 0.5 percent of its total waste is hazardous, the company says.
Hazardous waste includes oils, acids, bases, and construction waste. These are used subject to government regulations and environmental consents, and are disposed of through specialist contractors, the company says.
Diageo’s waste strategy is based on five platforms:
- Eliminating materials where possible
- Reducing materials
- Finding agricultural uses for waste
- Recycling packaging and other materials
- Recovering waste for energy
But in what way can such waste be turned into energy? A company in Scotland, startup Celtic Renewables, says it can turn waste from the country’s £4 billion ($6 billion) whiskey-making industry into millions of gallons of renewable fuel, creating a £60 million ($90 million) biofuels industry, National Geographic reports.