This past Monday, Great Divide Brewing Co. held an outreach meeting to explain a new zero-waste community recycling program it wants to launch and establish itself as a community recycling center for small manufacturing businesses in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood.
The brewery, which was previously awarded a $16,000 state sponsored competitive grant through the Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO), purchased two baling machines and a pallet scale to launch a pilot recycling program with neighbors Bierstadt Lagerhaus and Black Shirt Brewing in April.
“Since implementing the balers in April, we have baled and diverted almost 11,500 lbs — 5.75 tons —of waste,” said Erin Cox, sustainability coordinator and QA/QC manager at Great Divide. “This places our community recycling program in the top 1 percent for waste diversion in the craft beer industry.”
The community recycling program will fill a gap in current recycling practices by targeting hard-to-recycle waste streams such as polypropylene grain bags and shrink wrap, which complicate the sorting process at recycling facilities, causing these items to go directly to landfills. Great Divide’s balers compact these waste streams into blocks that can be stacked and easily transported to be processed at a recycler. The pallet scale will weigh recyclable materials and help participating local businesses such as Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Black Shirt Brewing, Block Distilling, Comrade Brewing and Denver Beer Co. understand their diversion rates and impact. Participation in the recycling program is free, and Great Divide will provide participants with individualized data. Breweries and small businesses that are interested in being involved with Great Divide’s recycling program are encouraged to email [email protected].
“There is currently no other resource like this for small breweries and manufacturers,” said Cox. “We’re thrilled to be launching this program with our neighbors and doing our part to minimize our negative impact on the environment.”
Because of Great Divide’s sustainability efforts, the brewery was recently awarded the 2018 National Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award by the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program/Small Business Ombudsman (SBEAP/SBO) and National Steering Committee (NSC).