WORKING WITH A LOCAL SOCIAL ENTERPRISE TO UPCYCLE OUR WASTE
This year’s Stone Beer that’s bubbling away in the tanks, waiting for when the days are short and the nights are cold, was brewed with eleven different malts. That’s a whole of lot of 25kg grain bags (which is always the case when we use specialty malt for our brews).
For us, it’s always been a question of how we can re-use these bags, rather than send them to landfill. We usually give them to local environmental organisations to assist them in cleaning up the local beaches or to collect plastics from businesses so that they can properly recycle it. We even took to the sewing machine to make cushions with them!
For us, this is how we roll as a business, working continually towards reducing our foot print. This falls under Green Feet, our company wide sustainability initiative that strives not only to reduce, reuse and recycle but also exploring innovative practices by reimagining the ecology of brewing.
Earlier this year, we met Lisa Flower from Waste to Resource who worked with our Sustainability Coordinator to install a baling unit at our Murwillumbah Brewery. The unit compresses cardboard and plastic waste from the packaging line into 75kg bales to be recycled. Compressing this waste means less truck movements and our plastic is now recycled and not contributing to landfill.
Through meeting Lisa, we connected with a local not for profit group call Sort Recycling that she also works with. This social enterprise, based all over Australia, provides skills and training through practical Work for the Dole activities around Australia. Each community-based facility recycles waste close to its source and returns its value directly back to that community.
Through recycling computers, bikes, timber and plastics right through to habitat protection. The organisation creates new jobs, training and economic opportunities for disadvantaged individuals and families.
“We work on-the-ground, in remote, regional and urban communities around Australia. We canvass donations of obsolete computers and other eWaste, wooden pallets, discarded bikes and other things with wheels and plastic items from local households and businesses. We show participants how to fabricate new products from them and then they sell the products in both real and online retail environments.”
The centre based in Murwillumbah has been taking our grain bags and up-cycling them into bags and bunting for us to use at the brewery. This has given a handful of participants the opportunity to develop skills in design and also sewing. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with Sort to come up with ways to not only recycle but upcycle our ‘waste’ into products that are useful for our communities.
For more info about Sort Recycling, check our Murwillumbah’s page https://www.facebook.com/sortmurbah