At Founders we are conscientious of the resources that we use to make our beer, and because of this understanding, we are dedicated to reducing our environmental footprint. We focus on water, natural gas, electricity and waste.
Millions of gallons of water flow through our facility every year. Much of it will end up as delicious beer in your belly, but some of that water also goes down the drain to our municipal water reclamation facility. Our goal is to utilize the water that comes into our facility as efficiently as possible. Whether that means reusing bottle rinse water, or pumping water destined for the drain through tubing in the floor for radiant heat in the cool months, we are determined to find ways to effectively and efficiently use each drop that comes through our building.
Natural gas and electricity are critical in the day to day functioning of our facility. Creating hot and cold environments, boiling wort for beer, chilling fermentation tanks, and keeping employees comfortable, among hundreds of other processes, happen every day and are only possible through consumption of gas and electricity. With that in mind, we work diligently to find efficiencies in our processes, enabling us to create more beer using fewer resources.
Waste is the most recent environmental goal for us. In accordance with the goals of Kent County, we are working to increase our recycling rate, as well as reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill. A 2016 study conducted by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum revealed the value of the contents of West Michigan’s municipal solid waste in landfills to be over $50 million. Even though our waste stream is not quite so valuable, we are still working on ways to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfills. We are working to reduce the amount of waste we generate, by reducing inputs, sourcing reusable options, and of course, switching to items that are recyclable or compostable where appropriate.
Each year new goals are set. These goals are a reflection of how well we performed the previous year, as well as a challenge to create better processes and enhance our existing efficiencies in order to improve and use fewer resources for each barrel of beer we produce. We rely on all members of the Founders Family to do their part to help us reach our goals, without them we would not succeed.