Southern California environment news and trends

Beer company converts coasters into tree seed bombs

There’s no disputing that Canada makes great beer (even if baseball’s Bryce Howard famously doesn’t want to talk about it). Now long-time favorite Great White North brew, Molson Canadian, is literally making Black Spruce trees out of beer coasters that are actually thinly disguised seed bombs.

As reported by Treehugger, the seed-infused drink coasters are available in specially marked cases of Molson Canadian (which is now a division of the very American Coors) and come emblazoned with the tag line, “This Land is Awesome.”

The coasters are the latest salvo in Molson Canadian’s ongoing Red Leaf Project, a project launched last year with the goal of generating volunteers to help plant over 100,000 trees across Canada, among a host of environmental initiatives.

“I know that we make both positive and negative impacts on people and the earth. We call that “Our Beer Print” – just like a beer leaves a mark on the table or coaster, we leave our mark,” said Bart Alexander, the Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer for Molson on the company’s blog. “Much is positive – such as the good times we spend together over beers, the jobs we create, and the contributions we make to our communities. Some is negative – like alcohol abuse or discharges and accidents in our breweries. We are dedicated as a company and as a collection of people to do all we can to grow our positive beer print and shrink our negative beer print… just like we’re doing with the Molson Canadian Red Leaf Project.”

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Shaving your face with beer waste

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(http://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/)

Close-up of beer in glass.

While beer’s immense popularity is still primarily based on drinking it, enterprising minds have found an interesting array of uses for the frothy beverage. In the 1970s, Bristol-Myers produced Body On Tap, a beer-enriched shampoo. While it’s been long discontinued, some people swear by beer’s hair benefits enough to make their own version of the shampoo. I also recently discovered that there are gardeners who use beer as an effective (if somewhat gruesome) method of ridding plants of snails and slugs.

In that same spirit of making the most out of leftover brew, Triple Pundit reports that Anheuser-Busch (AB-InBev) is working with company Blue Marble on converting waste generated from making beer into renewable chemicals that can be used in shaving cream and soap.

As reported in Forbes, Blue Marble makes biochemicals for a wide variety of products, and is looking to amend the use of coffee grounds in their fermentation reactors with brewers’ waste. These byproducts will also reduce the company’s reliance on petroleum-based materials. After testing small batches last year, Blue Marble will set up a bio-refinery pilot at an as yet undisclosed North American Anheuser-Busch brewery.

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When big companies do good things: Coors aims for world's largest landfill-free brewery

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(http://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/)

Bill Coors is something of an OG in the environmental world; disgusted with the empty cans he saw littering the landscape Colorado back in the late ‘50s, Coors was inspired to create seamless, recyclable cans. Coupled with a “Cash For Cans” program where Coors paid one cent per returned can, Coors opened the door for companies to take a personal responsibility in social concerns.

Having carried that tradition throughout the years to the point that all MillerCoors breweries reuse and/or recycle 99% of all wastes. With four of those breweries already achieving “zero to landfill” status, MillerCoors has set a new goal of their biggest brewery in Golden, CO, reaching that 100% mark as well.

“We’re aiming for 2015 to accomplish becoming a zero-to-landfill brewery but don’t be surprised if we hit that goal ahead of time,” says the Colorado Brewery’s Environmental Health and Science Engineer, Fred Linton in a press release. “We want to give our employees one more thing to be proud of when they come to work for MillerCoors at the Golden Brewery – and our customers yet another reason to pick up one of our great beers.”

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