We love and need our oceans, but plastic waste finds its way into our oceans each year polluting the waters and hurting marine life. One of the worst culprits are those plastic rings that hold together six-packs. Birds, sea turtles, and fish become strangled or ingest the plastic. A few years back, Bobby saw this video from a startup company describing an ingenious product that is made from compostable materials (e.g., spent grain from the brewing process). These rings will biodegrade within a week or two in the right conditions and if they do end up in the oceans, they are made of materials that fish and marine life can consume! Bobby told me that when we open our brewery he wants to find products like this so we can “be the change”.
When our first cans of our Pirate’s Cove Helles rolled off the canning line–held together by the E6PR six pack holder–Bobby’s eyes were glistening. We can be the change. We canned 800 six-packs and going with the eco-friendly E6PR only cost us an additional $65. I spend more than that feeding my cat, so why can’t we spend that to feed some fish?
We’re just a small microbrewery in Appleton, WI–far from the oceans–but we strive to make eco-friendly decisions whenever possible to help the global fight to save the planet’s resources.
Have you enjoyed popcorn in our taproom? We chose stainless steel bowls in lieu of paper or plastic to reduce the waste we produce in our taproom. We save roughly 6,000 disposable bowls from the landfill each year. We also use Valley Popcorn Co, a local popcorn vendor to supply all of our popcorn needs because buying local supports more sustainable practices and benefits the local economy—a double win!
For large events, we use Good Start Packaging products that are made from plants! The plastic cups are compostable, but they do require some special treatment to compost. The City of Appleton, currently, does not have the means to accept these for composting, so we’re working to find another vendor who can. But, we’re hopeful municipalities will expand their waste management protocols to include composting these types of products as more and more businesses start taking this step towards sustainable packaging. You should ask your favorite take-out spot to consider it!
Behind the scenes, we give our spent grain from the brewing process to local farmers to feed to their livestock. Our employees are encouraged to bike to work-which is great because Appleton Bicycle Shop is just next door perchance we need any thing. We have also implemented many energy conserving practices in our brewing and chilling process. From an efficient glycol system to chill our fermentation tanks to utilizing heat loss from our cooler to warm our building during the winter months, we’re constantly thinking of ways to reduce reuse, recycle, and conserve.
These decisions do cost us a little more here and there, but the investment in our future is worth it to us! Come check out our compostable cups at Lagerfest, Oct 12 on State Street. Tickets available here.
So thank you for supporting McF and help us raise a glass to making these small decisions which, we hope, will have a big impact!