Sierra Nevada Brewing has diverted 99.8 percent of its waste and achieved platinum certification from the US Zero Waste Business Council — the first platinum certification that the USZWBC has given and the highest level possible.
The waste management efforts also saved the brewing company money: $5,398,470 in avoided disposal costs and $903,308 in 2012 revenue, it says.
By diverting 51,414 tons from landfill and incineration, Sierra Nevada avoided 11,812 tons of CO2e greenhouse gases, USZWBC says.
USZWBC audited the zero waste diversion processes at Sierra Nevada in Chico, Calif. and said the facility is reducing, reusing, recycling and composting at an unprecedented rate. Its 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. Additionally, single sided paper is collected and turned into notepads for employees 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 US to install a HotRot composter to compost its organic waste. This system composted 261 tons of organics in 2012 that otherwise would have gone to the landfill.
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 standards set by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA).
Sierra Nevada won an EPA WasteWise award in September for its waste diversion efforts.