MillerCoors Sustainability Report: Beats Waste Reduction Goal, Misses Water Use Target

by | Jul 1, 2010

MillerCoors has exceeded its 2015 goal for waste reduction by eliminating 20 percent of the amount of waste sent to landfill, according to the company’s 2010 Sustainable Development report. In total, the company reuses or recycles nearly 100 percent of all brewery waste, up from 98 percent in 2008, and achieved zero waste to landfill at two of its breweries.

However, the brewer did not meet its goal to reduce water use to a 3.96:1.00 water-to-beer ratio. In 2009, the company shifted 12 percent of production to different breweries as a result of the joint venture, which impacted water consumption. The company is investing in capital improvements to meet its 2015 goal to reduce water use by 15 percent to achieve a 3.50:1.00 water-to-beer ratio.

MillerCoors also set 2015 goals to reduce total energy use by 15 percent, retail packaging by 2 percent and waste to landfill by 15 percent.

Here’s some of the progress MillerCoors has made over the past year.

MillerCoors has reduced total energy consumption by 3.6 percent per barrel of beer across its eight major breweries, lowered greenhouse gas emissions by 1.2 percent across all operations and facilities and renewed its commitment to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program, pledging to reduce corporate-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions eight percent by 2015.

In 2009, MillerCoors recorded a ratio of 4.11 barrels of water to every barrel of beer, a slight increase from 2008. However, three of its breweries maintained a water-to-beer ratio under 4.00, and its Texas brewery achieved a ratio of 3.40 barrels of water for every barrel of beer.

MillerCoors plans to complete a water footprint in 2011, evaluating its water use throughout the entire supply chain to better understand its overall direct and indirect water use.

In 2009, renewable energy comprised 2.9 percent of MillerCoors’ overall energy portfolio, but says it is committed to increasing its renewable energy including wind and solar power. The company is exploring a trial wind turbine project at its Milwaukee brewery and experimenting with the use of fuel cells at its California brewery.

Four of the company’s breweries use anaerobic wastewater treatment systems, and its Texas and California breweries generate biogas from the wastewater for use in the boilers and for electricity generation. The company also has started engineering at the Virginia brewery to reuse biogas for generating electrical power.

The brewer also claims the largest installation of membrane bioreactor technology in the U.S. at its Elkton, Va. brewery.

MillerCoors reduced packaging materials by an estimated 11 million pounds in Coors Light and Coors Banquet secondary packaging.

The brewer also is working to improve efficiency in every mode of transportation. As an example, by reconfiguring railway shipments to increase the amount of beer each railcar carries, the company reduced the number of railcars needed by nearly 40 percent, which prevented about 3,000 metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions.

The company also increased the number of kegs and pallets distributors put on return trucks, reducing the number of trucks on the road by 13 percent, or 1,400 trucks per year.

MillerCoors’ goal is to have 100 percent of its carriers join the EPA’s SmartWay program to reduce their transportation-related emissions. In 2009, 90 percent of its carriers were enrolled in the program, a 44 percent increase from 2008.

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