COVID-19 has been unkind to many industries, none more notable than the hospitality sector. Unfortunately, pubs and restaurants have remained closed for most of the pandemic. This has caused a surplus in kegs of beer. The British Beer & Pub Association states that the pandemic has wasted 87 million pints of beer, which is a staggering financial loss of £331 million to the sector.
Not to sit idly during the pandemic, the great minds at Heineken Brewery in Manchester have created a solution for the wasted beer. They decided to use the excess pints to generate green energy to power their brewery.
The wasted stock made for pubs around the country was salvaged using a new mechanism, which is a reversal of the process used to fill the kegs. Now, it removes the beer and stores this in empty vessels to be used to create green energy.
Thousands of kegs are then passed through a wastewater treatment plant and then through an anaerobic digester that helps convert the beer into biogas, which is used to produce this renewable and sustainable energy. Then, using newfound equipment, the biogas is converted into heat using the site’s steam boilers.
Heineken says the biogas is 100% sustainable and renewable, and is used to supplement the energy needed to brew beer and sterilise cans.
Since they started in May 2020, Heineken says the powerful Combined Heat and Power unit they use has converted 4,160,500 litres of beer which is 7,321,456 pints. According to the brewery, it has created enough energy to heat almost 28,000 UK homes for a day.
Matt Callan, the brewery and operations director for Heineken said, “We’re always looking to find new innovative ways to brew a better world, and this solution is a win-win for drinkers and reducing our impact on the planet.”
At the same Brewery in Manchester, and in a bid to further reduce CO2, they have also begun introducing ‘Green Grip’. This is to eliminate plastic waste from the millions of cans they deliver to thousands of UK retailers. Heineken is replacing the plastic rings from all multi-pack cans, equating to an estimated 94 million plastic bags of waste. They invested £22 million into this eco-friendly solution which is a 100% plastic-free robust cardboard topper for their multi-pack cans.
Their statement regarding this new Green Grip is that they cannot ignore the effect that single-use plastics have on the planet. Plastic represents only 3% of the packaging as a company. Heineken will continue to find ways to improve the impact they have on our planet.
I find it very refreshing to see companies such as Heineken finding creative ways, to not only create green energy, but also to reduce their plastic waste as well.
By Tim Strange
Tim Strange is Director of US Sales and Operations. While at NGP he has supported the roll out of its online price-comparison engine, BusinessEnergyQuotes.com, which is tailored to SMEs and sole traders. He has also managed our sales operation based in Leeds, helping them outperform their targets. Tim is now focused on driving further growth in Texas, with our US operation.