Fans of Coors, Miller High Life, Icehouse and other MillerCoors brands can quaff their favorite alcoholic beverages with a clean conscience.
MillerCoors, a joint venture of SABMiller PLC and Molson Coors Brewing Co., announced that its flagship brewery in Golden, Colo., has achieved landfill-free status.
That means the brewery has eliminated an average of 135 tons of monthly waste that previously was sent to landfills.
"For the brewing industry, the accomplishment is significant: No other breweries, including small craft or large national, have managed to achieve landfill-free status," MillerCoors said in a news release.
With an annual output of 11 million barrels, the Golden Brewery is the company's largest brewery by volume, according to the company's website.
In an effort that began in 2011, the brewery has eliminated landfill waste through a combination of process improvements and investments in new infrastructure and equipment, including new choppers, bailers and compactors, according to the company.
"The brewery beneficially reuses or recycles 100 percent of waste, including all glass, paperboard, plastics, metal and brewing byproducts, such as spent grain," MillerCoors explained.
"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."
'We Developed a Way to Do Things Differently'
MillerCoors CEO Tom Long said the company has "developed a zero-waste model that's scalable to our other facilities."
Four other MillerCoors breweries have achieved landfill-free status: Eden, N.C.; Elkton, Va.; Irwindale, Calif.; and Trenton, Ohio.
"There's a misperception that sustainable manufacturing is expensive, but employee behaviors are really the key to efficiently and affordably making the change," explained Kelly Harris, a longtime MillerCoors employee who led the Trenton Brewery's efforts to eliminate landfill waste.
"Working alongside brewery leadership, we developed a way to do things differently and implemented new manufacturing processes at the brewery. We've proven that there's an alternative place for all waste, even at one of the world's largest breweries."