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Working towards zero waste operations


The issues

The increasing costs, and in some cases the scarcity, of raw materials across the globe require companies to focus on the efficiency of their resource use and to maximise the value extracted from their raw material supplies. Our research to date has investigated alternative uses for solid wastes, either within our manufacturing process or by selling them to other industries that can use them.

At the same time, the growth in population coupled with economic growth, has led to a notable increase in the amount of waste being generated globally. In addition, the pursuit of higher living standards, the dwindling availability of landfill sites and increasingly punitive legislation have led to a situation in which it is becoming prohibitively expensive to dispose of solid waste streams.

There is therefore a strong incentive for SABMiller to minimise the amount of waste produced during the production process and to reuse or recycle the wastes that are unavoidable. The majority of wastes produced within our breweries are recyclable or re-usable to some extent. This is closely aligned to the the idea of a circular economy as waste can be used to rebuild capital – in this case, financial, social and natural.

Why this is a priority

Most of the waste produced by our business is organic matter resulting from the brewing process. This includes spent grains, waste yeast and trub (sediment that appears at the bottom of a fermenter after fermentation has taken place). The remaining waste comprises damaged packaging (including broken bottles), kieselghur (effluent sludge from waste water treatment) and other non-recyclable waste.

In managing waste generated by our businesses, we follow the principles of the waste hierarchy to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste in an efficient and, ultimately, value-creating way. This requires us to use our resources efficiently and to limit the disposal of waste to landfill.

Position paper

Our position on on-site waste: the need to work towards zero-waste operations

Download Position paper PDF (0.57Mb)

Position paper on on-site waste