Photo: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Photo: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

If you need one more reason to appreciate that Pale Ale, check out this tasty piece of news.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. recently announced that it now diverts 99.8 percent of its waste — a feat that earned the California brewery a platinum certification plaque from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC).

This is the first platinum certification the USZWBC has given and the highest level possible.

In late 2013, the organization audited the waste-diversion process at Sierra Nevada’s Chico, Calif. brewery and found that the facility is successfully reducing, reusing, recycling and composting at an unprecedented rate.

“Our certification program holds to the highest standards and is one of the toughest in the country, so reaching the platinum level is a great accomplishment,” said Stephanie Barger, founder and executive director of USZWBC. “We have never seen a company so efficient with their zero waste management, and yet they are still striving to achieve an even higher standard, which is inspiring.”

To date, the Chico, Calif., brewery has diverted 51,414 tons of waste from local landfills and incineration facilities, reducing CO2 emissions by nearly 12,000 tons and saving more than $5 million in disposal costs.

To accomplish such impressive numbers, the brewery embraces reuse as well as recycling — rebuilding shipping pallets locally, reusing cardboard boxes and repurposing single-sided paper into notepads for employees.

Given the lack of regional composting operations, Sierra Nevada was also the first in the U.S. to install a HotRot composter to process its own organic waste. The system composted a whopping 261 tons of organics in 2012 that would have otherwise gone to the landfill.

“Resource conservation is important to me and I’ve always felt it’s the right way to do business,” Ken Grossman, owner and founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., said in a news release. “Everyone at Sierra Nevada participates in our zero waste efforts and takes pride in what we do. . . . Although we have built a great zero waste program, we will continue to look for ways to improve.”

For more information on the brewery’s quest to reduce waste, check out its sustainability overview online.

By Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.