We have set a target of eliminating waste to landfill from our operations by 2020 by finding new and better ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.
As with most products, making alcoholic drinks has the potential to generate waste at many stages of the product lifecycle. We aim to reduce the volume of materials used, and reuse or recycle waste from our operations in ways that benefit our business, the environment and local communities.
Minimising the waste from our production sites and offices is not only directly linked to cost savings, it also has a positive effect on our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, water use and other environmental impacts of our business.
We have set a target to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2020. In the last three months of this year, we achieved zero waste to landfill at all our supply and office sites, an important milestone in our ambition to be a zero-waste business
Hazardous and non-hazardous waste
The vast majority of our waste is non-hazardous, including organic matter such as yeast remaining from the brewing processes; kieselguhr, which is a soft rock used for filtration; and the pulped labels from the bottles that we recycle. Other waste streams include damaged packaging, sludge from wastewater treatment, boiler ash and office waste.
Less than 0.5% of our total waste is hazardous. This includes oils, acids, bases and construction waste. These are used subject to government regulations and environmental consents, and are disposed of through specialist contractors.
Achieving our target
Our strategy to eliminate waste to landfill from our operations is based on five platforms.
- Using less: The more efficient we are, the less materials we use.
- Eliminating materials where possible: We can reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by using pioneering techniques and technologies to eliminate certain materials from our operations. For example, new beer membrane filtration systems at a number of our breweries have eliminated the need to use kieselguhr.
- Finding agricultural uses for waste: For example, by-products from distilling and brewing that were once sent to landfill are now being used by farmers in animal feed.
- Recycling packaging and other materials: Measures such as improved segregation methods can significantly reduce waste to landfill
- Recovering waste for energy: Where materials cannot be recycled, as a last resort we explore their potential for energy recovery through thermal combustion, working with partners using advanced technology to minimise the impact of converting waste to energy.