How Wolf’s Ridge​ Upped Its Sustainability Reach

On the last Saturday of September, ​Wolf’s Ridge Brewing throw​s​ ​its​ biggest party of the year​ as it’s the Columbus, Ohio brewery’s anniversary celebration​. There’s great beer, delicious food, amazing people, and bumpin’ tunes, but ​the past anniversary parties produced something undesirable — a lot of trash and waste.

For Wolfstock 2019, Erika Roth, ​the brewery’s ​Sustainability Ambassador ​said the goal was simple: reduce the amount of landfill waste usually produced​ by diverting as much landfill waste as possible to composting as well as give guests an alternative to the typical disposable cups used at events like this one.

​”​There’s a big misconception with the public about waste, especially plastic waste​,” she said​. ​”The average plastic cup you get any coffee shop or outdoor event usually has the recycling symbol on the bottom of it, but rarely are recycling facilities actually processing those.

​”​As a result, the consumer places the cup in the recycling bin, thinking they made the right choice when, in all reality, the 2-10 cups one person used in a single event ultimately ends up in the landfill.​”​

​Also, ​Americans lead the world in food waste, throwing out 63 million tons of food each year. It is becoming the responsibility of every American to embrace sustainability, but when it comes to limiting food waste, bars and restaurants need to lead the charge.

The sector generates a staggering 11.4 million tons of food waste annually …​ not to mention food costs make up 28-35% of restaurant sales.

That’s why at ​its anniversary party this year, Wolf’s Ridge decided to make sustainability practices a priority. The goal was simple: reduce the amount of landfill waste produced at a large scale event by diverting as much trash as possible to composting.

To do this, the brewery purchased over 600 reusable stainless steel cups ​(sponsored by Covermymeds) ​that were complimentary for guests, intended to minimize single-use cups. Also, Wolf’s Ridge sourced compostable ware for food and drinks and leveraged over a dozen waste stations at the anniversary celebration, diverting nearly 1,000 lbs of organic waste to an industrial composting program.

“This dramatically minimized single-use cups and also gave guests something cool they could take home and use in the future,” Roth said. “We used these for our outdoor drinking area, while indoor bars functioned with compostable plastic glassware in 16 oz and 5 oz sizes. We selected disposables based on what our compost provider accepted.

“The greenware plastic biodegradable 16 oz cups are about 15-20% higher in cost than the standard plastic cup. The plastic biodegradable 5 oz cups we use for flights, were about 50% higher than standard cups this size.”

​Wolf’s Ridge had purchased the greenware cups before and used them for various in-house events and external sales events. The brewery was able to quickly find a local composting program, as it does not have an active program.

“We had to set up the pick-up and drop off times, purchase compostable bags, determine the location and amount of bins for guests and larger containers for staff,” Roth explained.

​Also, ​efforts at the brewery began four years ago with partnerships to divert spent grain to local farmers who use the byproduct to feed cattle.

“Three to four times a week, our friend Skip picks up an average of 1,600 to 2,200 lb. of spent grain from the brewery, removing it from the traditional waste stream,” Roth said. She added that the brewery continues to search for creative ways to recycle or divert brewing bi-products and adjuncts as well as food waste from restaurant operations.

Ongoing projects include maintaining an efficient and effective recycling program and monitoring energy efficiency.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Vital Strategies to Maximize Your P&L Determination

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.