In a nutshell, sidestreaming is taking something that you don’t use anymore, and finding someone who could use it, recycle it, or generally keep it out of the landfill.
An example here at Allagash: once our grain has gone through the brewing process, we sell it, at a deep discount, to Norm of Justice Farms, who picks it up and delivers it to cattle farmers in his area.
To be clear, sidestreaming is not easy. It would be far easier for us to just take any and all waste we produce, put it in a dumpster and let it get carted away to the landfill. But beyond simply being more harmful to the environment, that approach actually loses us money, and deprives our partners of resources that they can actually use.
Another example: spent grain bags. These bags are often made of woven plastic. We reserve these bags, bail them into a giant cube, and then sell them to a recycling center who will, most often, sell the bags to companies that make plastic decking boards. Another sidestreaming opportunity is simply the paper and food products our employees use. Think: coffee grounds, paper towels, fruit peels, and more. We work with a local composting company, Garbage to Garden, to turn all of that organic waste into compost, giving it new life as fertilizer. As a sidenote, we also allow employees to bring in their own compost from home and dump it into buckets at work, making composting simple and easy for all of them as well.
To get away from specific examples and show the breadth of sidestreaming we’re undertaking at Allagash, we’d point you simply to look at our sidestreaming bins, in the header image above.
Assorted PakTech carriers that we’ve accumulated through employees bringing them in, our Recycling Co-Op, and through our tasting room recycling program.
By dividing materials into specific categories, we’re finding a way to keep nearly every single thing we use here at the brewery out of the landfill. And there was really no secret sauce to doing it. We’ve found homes for our waste simply through time, effort, and connecting with more folks that live in our community. Everything from wiring to e-waste, we’ve found a home for. Currently, we’re sitting at being able to divert around 99.8% of our waste, by volume, from the landfill.
And if you want to help us out, we’ll actually take your hard-to-recycle beer items as well. Simply bring any of the following items to our tasting room.
- PakTech Carriers
- Natural Corks
- Metal caps or cages
- Packaging materials (bubble wrap, cardboard)
Best of all, after your sixth drop-off of materials, we’ll give you a $10 gift card for our tasting room. Happy sidestreaming!