Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is setting the standard when it comes to green business practices and today the Chico brewery received a high honor for its efforts. The company diverts 99.8% of its waste, meaning only two tenths of a percent makes its way to the landfill. Owner and founder Ken Grossman has made waste diversion an integral part of his business.
"We have a very active recycling program for things like plastic, broken bottles, scrap metal, and cardboard. Anything that comes from our process we try to find a reuse for it or a way to recycle it," he says.
The company put in a rail system to deliver most of its product and limit the amount of trucks on the road. It also turns food waste from its restaurant into fertilizer for the hop yard and garden, and their efforts are getting national attention.
Stephanie Barger, founder of the Zero Waste Business Council says, "The goal is not to just divert a bunch of trash, but to also start a zero waste economy by creating new jobs. Also, being more efficient and taking those valuable resources that we've been throwing away and turning them into new commodities."
The Zero Waste Business Council recently created a certification system to give companies a way to measure their waste reduction. Sierra Nevada is the first business in the country to achieve platinum status, the highest level possible. When grading companies, the council looks at employee participation and sustainable practices across the board. Grossman says although they're making great strides in their waste diversion, that doesn't mean he's going to stop looking for ways to improve.
"There's still more we can do, but we're getting pretty close to reusing and recycling everything that would normally end up in a landfill. We're trying to keep it out of the landfills," he says.
In addition to the award from the Zero Waste Business Council, Sierra Nevada was also recognized by Senator Nielsen's office today for its waste diversion.