Solid waste diversion from landfills is an integral component of sustainability. Breweries often produce solid waste that can be sorted into 4 categories: brewing, packaging, food service, and concerts/ events. Following the three R’s is a simple way to get started. First, solid waste should be reduced, then reused, and only as a last resort recycled. Breweries can determine the magnitude of their solid waste habits through an annual waste audit. Waste audits allow the brewery to determine what they are disposing and how much of said item they are disposing. These values can then be revisited the following year to note improvements in sustainability.
Waste can be reduced through changing packaging materials to compostable or recycled materials, using lighter weight materials, and increasing the amount of recycled materials in packing. Encouraging the use of growlers and kegs can also reduce the number of bottles and cans produced. The Iowa Waste Reduction Center can assist in implementing a waste reduction program focussed on solid waste as well as food waste. Food waste, alongside spent grain and yeast, can avoid a trip to the landfill by being donated or used as composting material.
As a last option, many traditional and non-traditional items such as printer ink cartridges, batteries, and filters can be recycled. It is encouraged to promote recycling to employees as well as customers through properly labeled recycling bins for paper, glass, cardboard, tin, etc. not only at the brewery but also at events/ concerts.