The of the most fortunate things about the beer business is 100% recyclable! Beer Distributors, like O&W, take great pride in our recycling efforts as they play a vital part in our business. There are seven different types of recycling done at O&W: glass bottles, aluminum cans, third party pick-up, plastic bottles, paper waste, plastic shrink wrap, motor oil and ink cartridges.
Aluminum Can Recycling at the Warehouse
Schupan & Sons Recycling has an empty semi that is loaded with pallets of crushed cans and taken away every week.
Glass Recycling: empty glass bottles come back to O&W by the case on the delivery trucks. 64 cases of glass to a pallet, 20 pallets get loaded, onto a semi owned by the glass recycling company called Glass recyclers. They pick up two semi’s full a day, that’s up to 4,000 cases of glass bottles a day.
Plastic Bottles: bottles are brought back from the accounts and put into plastic bags, 6 cases per bag. The bags are loaded into Gaylord Bins, 6 bags per bin and then into a Schupan & Son’s semi truck. We recycle up to 6,000cs of plastic bottle per month.
Third Party Pick-up: this is done at the account by a company that services the TOMRA (reverse vending machines) machines, they take the empties and bill O&W for the deposit.
Paper products: Waste Management, the garbage collector, divides the paper and cardboard out of the dumpsters at their facility.
Ink Cartridges: all of the ink jest printer cartridges come with return/recycling box and are all sent back to the office supply company to recycle.
Motor Oil and Antifreeze: in the service garage, the oil and antifreeze freeze are stored in drums and swapped out by Crystal Flash when they deliver new oil and anti freeze. We recycle over 8,000 gallons per year.
Plastic Wrap Compressor: a compressor now smashes down all of the plastic wrap in the warehouse into cubes. A trailer is loaded with compressed cubes and picked up once monthly for the plastic to be recycled at Petosky Plastic. Every pallet of beer that comes in and out of the warehouse is wrapped in plastic – that is tons of plastic being recycled!
August 22, 2011, 73 Solar Panels are installed on the roof of O&W.
A new plastic compressor is installed in the warehouse to crush all the plastic wrap into cubes. Petosky Plastic will pick up semi loads full once a month to recycle at their plant.
- 2011 We are growing East Kent Goldings and Cascade Hops at the Warehouse!
- 2010 the salesmen convert to smart phones and are able to better communicate via email instead of having printed copies of everything from their supervisors.
- 2010 re routed the delivery trucks and with better planning, took two trucks off the road. The jobs remain and were integrated into the warehouse and with people retiring. 7th year in a row to decrease overall mileage on the delivery routes.
- 2009 O&W was nationally recognized in the NBWA Distributor Responsibility Handbook for sustainability efforts .
- “2009 Green Leaders” finalist in the Detroit Free Press Earth Day contest featuring sustainability efforts by businesses around the Detroit metro area.
- 2009 is the 6th year in a row to decrease overall mileage driven by Delivery Trucks due to better routing and load planning.
- Fifth year to use a 5% Bio Diesel blend year round in our delivery trucks and 2010 is the third year we have increased it from a 5% blend to a 20% blend in non warranty trucks in the warmer months ,from April to September.
- On December 15th, 2009, the final phase of total light replacement in the warehouse was completed. 160 Metal Halide lights were replaced with T5 Florescent tubes which produce no heat and use 60% less energy. The old lights were donated to Share house of Ann Arbor, a non-profit organization, to light their warehouse.
- 2009, 10 motion sensors were installed with the new lights throughout the warehouse to only light areas when needed.
- 2009, donated 12 cases of 16oz. “Corn Cups” bio-degradable, compostable cups instead of donating the regular plastic cups Ann Arbor Summerfest, along with monetary donation sponsoring the event.
- 2008, 4 24 foot high powered fans were installed in January in the Drive-thru of the Warehouse circulating the air to naturally cool and heat the building. The furnace turned on only twice over the colder months of 2009.
- 2008, 5 new energy efficient dock seals were installed on the loading docks making them more air tight and drier when it rains and snows.
- 2007, speed regulators were installed in all 23 delivery trucks capping their top speed at 68 mph. At this time auto shut offs were also installed so the truck can not be left on idling for over 5 minutes.
- 2006 purchased 5 Route Saver Delivery Trucks that are loaded with the beer placed onto racks to ensure a fuller truck, resulting in 3 less Delivery Trucks on the road in the last 4 years.
- 2006, re-lamped the Keg Cooler in by installing Cooper Metal Lux light fixture, each with a Cold Temp sensory timer to turn on when motion is detected.
- 2004, all 16 Salesmen were trained and use MC 70 palms to place orders. Pocket PC’s and wireless printers are used by our 18 Side Load Route Drivers eliminating almost all paper.
Our Suppliers are doing great things for the environment too!
Millercoors has done a great job with the great beer great responsibility website. Visit to learn more about the way that Miller has made everything from water usage and packaging sustainability to brewery waste more streamline and environmentally friendly.
Sierra Nevada is a pioneer in the Craft beer industry as well as leader in sustainability. There is much to be learned – they address Solar, Fuel Cells, Heat Recovery, CO2 Recovery, Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation, Emissions and Transportation all on their website – click here for more info!
Sierra Nevada joined the EPA’s SmartWay programin 2008 as a commitment to sustainable transportation. The SmartWay program allows progressive businesses to assess their current transportation standards and set goals to increase efficiency and awareness. Our action plan includes equipment upgrades, fuel efficient technologies, and extensive driver and staff training to educate them on our partnership and their responsibilities. We have also encouraged our shippers and carriers to become partners as well so that we can support the effort on a national level.