Making ‘zero waste’ breweries a reality
This year, SABMiller generated 2.74 million tonnes of waste, a decrease of 0.35 million tonnes compared to last year, while achieving a recycling rate of 94.4%.
This year 94.4% of our waste was recycled or reused
We encourage all our businesses to operate in a way that minimises the amount of waste sent to landfill, with the ultimate goal that they become a zero waste operation. This often requires innovation to develop new disposal options for hard-to-recycle waste.
For example in Colombia, this year Bavaria completed a pilot project in Tocancipa in partnership with the national composting association to trial the use of effluent sludge in the manufacture of soil conditioner. In addition, new dewatering equipment is being commissioned in the brewery to process kieselguhr. Once in operation, 100% of the dewatered material will be used for brick manufacturing.
This year in the Czech Republic, Plzeňský Prazdroj identified a unique way of recycling waste labels, which are washed off returnable bottles in the packaging process. Together with other organic wastes, the labels are composted to create an industrial substrate used in landscaping and construction groundwork. This project will save 400 tonnes per year of waste going to landfill that would otherwise not be reused.
A number of our breweries have already achieved zero waste status. This year in the USA, MillerCoors reused or recycled more than 99% or brewery waste and four breweries (Trenton, Irwindale, Eden and Shenandoah) achieved zero waste status.
In Poland, our Poznań brewery recycles or reuses 99.5% of waste. This was achieved following a recent upgrade of the boiler house which means it no longer produces slag. Waste labels and kieselguhr are also both recycled at the brewery.
This year in Ecuador, Cervecería Nacional launched an internal communications campaign to raise awareness amongst employees of recycling and to encourage them to look for opportunities to reduce waste.
Generating energy from waste
We have continued to explore opportunities to use waste to generate energy, either through its direct combustion or by converting it into biogas or biofuel to replace fossil fuels. In this way, we are not only using our waste as a resource, but are also reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
Over the last year we completed the conversion of the boilers at our brewery in Panama to use biogas from the waste water treatment plant as a fuel. The boiler conversion has helped to avoid using over 100,000 gallons of oil over the last year and reduce CO2 emissions by 7%.
In a number of operations we are using agricultural waste to fuel our breweries. In Honduras, we are using bagasse (the fibrous matter that remains after sugarcane stalks have been crushed to extract their juice) as a biofuel and in India, a number of our breweries have installed boilers which can be fuelled by rice husks purchased from local farmers.
Over the last year our Brewing Research Facility (BRF) based at the University of Nottingham started its first trials. In partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the brewery will be used (amongst other purposes) to investigate potential options to generate energy from brewing waste, particularly spent grains.
Find out moreExplore our performance in more