Archive for the 'Food Processing' Category

Brewers For Clean Water

Monday, July 7th, 2014 by

With water being the main ingredient in beer, having clean water is crucial to the brewing process. Not only can the slightest of impurities throw off the flavor of the batch tremendously, but it can also become a health concern. Dozens of craft brewers, many of which rely on water from the Great Lakes, launched a campaign last year with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), advocating for the strengthening of water quality policies. Attempts to lower the regulations on water in recent years has not only put the beer industry in jeopardy, but also threatens public health for many other industries. Watch this video to hear from the participating breweries about the campaign.

The campaign also has created a Facebook page to keep supporters informed of all updates regarding the campaign. From hosting sustainability talks with the breweries to creating petitions to be sent to the EPA, those who wish to support the campaign will find everything they need to become a part of the cause.

For more information and a complete list of local breweries involved in the campaign, visit the NRDC website.

To learn more about sustainability in other food processing industries, please visit the GLRPPR Sector Resource for Food Processing.

December 2008 Site of the Month: Consumer Reports Greener Choices

Monday, December 1st, 2008 by

It’s holiday time again, which means you’re probably going to buy at least one gift for someone, as well as items for celebrations and holiday meals. You may wish to consult Consumer Reports Greener Choices web site, which provides information to help choose more environmentally friendly products. Articles and “green ratings” are available for the following product categories: Appliances, Cars, Electronics, Food & Beverages, and Home & Garden.  Within these sections, you’ll find links to articles, information on conservation of resources (such as energy, water, fuel, etc.), resources for shopping greener, and information on recycling and disposal. The “Hot Topics & Solutions” section of the site includes the Eco-labels Center (which helps you interpret what product labels really mean), the Electronics Recycling Center, the Global Warming Solutions Center, and sections on Energy, Water, and Waste.

The “Toolkit” section includes calculators to help save energy, water, and money, as well as a Toxics Search tool to find out whether there’s a potential for exposure while using a particular product, and how that can affect your health. The “Community” section of the site includes links to Consumers Union campaigns, forums and resources for further information, as well as blogs on cars, food safety, green homes, and safety.

September is Organic Harvest Month

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 by

According to the Organic Trade Association web site:
“In 1992, the Organic Trade Association implemented ‘Organic Harvest Month™,’ a widespread promotion of organic food and agriculture through regional and local events. The objective of Organic Harvest Month™ is to highlight organic agriculture and the growing organic products industry. September is also an ideal time for consumers and retailers to celebrate the bounty of the organic harvest.”

Organic agricultural methods are relevant to pollution prevention because they typically involve the use of fewer, non-toxic, more environmentally friendly pesticides, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), composting, the elimination of the use of antiobiotics and synthetic hormones, etc. To paraphrase the National Organic Standards Board definition of “organic” as presented on teh Organic Trade Association web site, “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony…Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water…The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.”

The Organic Trade Association web site provides a quick overview of organic agriculture and production; an overview of organic standards (including U.S., Canadian and other international standards); a section on public policy; several online directories for the use of consumers, organic product manufacturers and the agricultural industry; various fact sheets and links; as well as a newsroom, calendar and bookstore (which includes training materials, market research, and industry guidelines).

P2 Go Bragh: A Different Shade of Green Beer

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 by

The first installment in this series concerns something other than Irish heritage that, for better or worse, has become inextricably linked to the celebration of the holiday in the U.S.: beer. Although this alcoholic beverage is sometimes dyed green for the sake of St. Patrick’s Day parties, the following resources relate to beer and brewing practices that are green in the sense of their environmental impacts.

As is the trend with most organic foods and beverages, organic beer is becoming more and more widely available as even big box retailers climb aboard the “green products are good for public relations, profits and the environment” train. Co-op America offers an overview of organic beer and wine as well as the rationale for choosing locally produced beers whenever possible (to reduce negative effects of long distance shipping, among other reasons). You can also search their National Green Pages under “Wine/Beer” for examples of breweries that produce organic beer. There is also a North American Organic Brewers Festival, scheduled this year for June 27-29 in Portland, Oregon. The festival web site lists the participating breweries and the beers they’re presenting.

For those of you, like my husband, who enjoy brewing your own beer at home, you might find the Seven Bridges Cooperative an interesting resource. Based in California, Seven Bridges provides certified organic ingredients for home brewing, such as organically grown hops and grains.

Interestingly, organic beer became the topic of controversy last year, as the USDA added to the list of non-organic ingredients that may compose 5% of a product by weight and still allow that product to bear the label “organic.” Hops were on the list, and while critical to the production of beer, they do make up less than 5% of the finished product by weight. The Organic Consumers Association was outraged by what it termed the “Budweiser Exception” that could allow big brewing companies to mass produce “organic” beers without using organically grown hops; the controversy was covered by MSNBC. Anheuser-Busch has since switched to using 100% organic hops. See the USDA’s web site for more information on organic food standards and labels.

Turning to waste reduction and efficiency in the brewing process, regardless of the use of organic ingredients, the March/April 2007 edition of In Business magazine featured a profile of Mad River Brewing Company in Blue Lake, California, which recycles or reuses 98% of its residuals, with a goal toward generating zero waste. The April 2007 edition of eco-structure Magazine included a look at the sustainable practices of New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. Among other things, the company purchases wind energy to power 100% of its brewery’s operations, the packaging hall was designed with energy efficiency in mind, and the brewhouse features a closed-loop heating system. For more information about New Belgium’s sustainability initiatives, see their web site.

For an example of sustainable initiatives at a brewery within the Great Lakes region, check out Michigan DEQ’s case study on the Leopold Bros. of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Goose Island Brewery in Chicago, Illinois is also a founding member of the Chicago Waste to Profit Network. An article from the October 2000 edition of Conscious Choice discusses several organic beers, including Goose Island’s organic beer production and partnering with Panorama Brewing Company to produce Wolaver’s Organic Ales regionally. Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was the first brewery in that state and the first business in Milwaukee to receive the Travel Green Wisconsin certification from the state’s Department of Tourism. Check out the brewery’s web site detailing what they’ve done to reduce their environmental and social impact and earn this recognition.

For more resources related to P2 for breweries, check out the GLRPPR Food Processing Sector Resource. I’ll be adding a “Beverage Manufacturing” subcategory in the near future to make finding resources related to brewing and other beverage production within this Sector Resource easier.

Energy-related Resources for Food Processors

Thursday, October 18th, 2007 by

In keeping with our Energy Awareness Month theme, here are a few resources worth checking out related to energy and the food processing industry:

  • Northwest Food Processors Association Energy Portal: Compiled by the Food Industry Resource Efficiency team (FIRE), a partnership between the Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) and the California League of Food Processors (CLFP) in collaboration with a number of public and private sector partners. Sections include: Established Technology; Opportunity Assessment; Efficiency Practices; Emerging Technologies; Financing/Incentives; Resources/Assistance; and a Training Calendar.
  • Energy Usage in the Food Industry: This 86-page report, available from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), reviews energy use and trends in the food industry, revealing energy intensive industries and processes that have the most incentive to reduce energy costs by implementing energy efficient processing methods.
  • ENERGY STAR Food Processing Focus: Provides industry-specific energy management tools and resources. EPA began the food processing focus in 2006 and participation is open to all food processors with plants in the U.S.
  • Energy Efficiency Opportunities in the Canadian Brewing Industry: This report from Natural Resources Canada outlines opportunities specific to the brewing industry, methods for their implementation, and a rationale for sound management of energy and utilities within the larger management of breweries.
  • The Visible Cost of Air: A Worksheet to Assist in Identifying Compressed Air Saving Opportunities: This WMRC fact sheet provides general, practical rule-of-thumb applications and recommendations for reducing waste associated with compressed air usage.
  • Heat Recovery From Milk Cooling Systems: Heat recovery from milk by water-cooled condensing mechanisms is effective and provides a reliable source of heat for preheating water on dairy farms. This Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs fact sheet, written by R.G. Winfield, describes the process of heat recovery from milk cooling systems.
  • Cutting Energy Waste in Large Refrigeration Systems: This Energy Center of Wisconsin fact sheet discusses some common performance problems with large refrigeration systems and suggests simple solutions.
  • Focus on Energy: Food/Dairy: Includes links to publications available in their Industrial Info Library, an opportunity to share your energy efficiency ideas related to this sector with Focus on Energy, and contact information. A “Dairy Processing Energy Best Practice Guidebook” will be available soon.
  • Food Service Technology Center: This extensive web site provides information on commercial kitchen equipment performance, including ventilation, building energy efficiency, lighting, glazing, and HVAC.

New York State DEC to host REACH workshop

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 by

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced that it will host a workshop on the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH). REACH is a recently adopted overhaul of the chemicals management system in the EU. REACH has important implications for United States firms exporting to EU member states and the rules became effective on June 1, 2007. The training session will take place on September 26, 2007 at DEC headquarters in Albany, NY.

An earlier post described a similar workshop that will be held in Lansing, MI on September 27.

For more upcoming events, check the GLRPPR online calendar and Sector Resources.

Lowell Center, MI DEQ Offer REACH Training

Friday, July 6th, 2007 by

The Chemicals Policy Initiative of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are offering a training on the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals) legislation in September 2007. The training, entitled Turning REACH into an Opportunity: A Training on Implementing The European Union’s New REACH Legislation, will be held September 27 at the Lansing Community College West Campus in Lansing, MI. The following press release from the DEQ describes the training:

“REACH— Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals— is the recently adopted overhaul of the chemicals management system in the European Union (EU). Entered into force June 1, 2007, REACH has important implications for US firms exporting to European Member States.

Attend this one-day training to learn from one of the few REACH authors and other experts about what you need to know to comply with REACH, stay competitive, and advance more sustainable chemicals management in your firm.

Why Should I Attend?
The new REACH system puts much more responsibility on companies to collect data on most chemicals on the market, assess the risk of these chemicals, and define safe use down the supply chain. It also requires companies to justify continued use of chemicals of very high concern. Any company exporting chemicals or chemical mixtures into the EU; competes in Europe, the US or elsewhere with products meeting European standards; or exports finished products to Europe has been effected by REACH.

This training session will help US companies prepare for REACH and turn it from a challenge into an opportunity. European companies have been preparing for the challenges and opportunities of REACH for several years— US companies must be prepared to remain competitive. Attendees will receive a database of tools and resources to help them make informed decisions about chemicals alternatives.

Complete conference agenda and registration information will be available on the Web by late July at www.chemicalspolicy.org. Registration fee is $100 and includes continental breakfast, lunch, and conference materials. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. Registration and Information Contact: Yve Torrie, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, 978-934-3121.”

Note that this event has been posted to the GLRPPR calendar, and an electronic version of the registration brochure will be linked to that event record when it becomes available. As part of Michigan DEQ’s Green Meetings Initiative, all marketing of this training will be done electronically. For more information on DEQ trainings, see the Trainings and Workshops section of the DEQ web site.

Thanks to Jennifer Acevedo of Michigan DEQ for providing this information.

WasteCap Wisconsin June 2007 Bulletin Available

Friday, June 15th, 2007 by

Ok, so end-of-pipe recycling is not technically considered pollution prevention in the strictest sense of the term; it is often argued that only in-process recycling counts. But folks interested in P2 also tend to be interested in diverting waste from landfills, especially if that waste can be turned into an asset and put to further use, at the source or otherwise. Plus, many P2 professionals are becoming more and more interested in the concepts of product stewardship and extender producer responsibility, which include thinking about how to reuse and recycle materials once they’ve served their original purpose. Information on recycling and recycled-content products is also of interest in matters of environmentally preferable purchasing and green building. So, beneficial reuse is part of my personal sense of the intention of pollution prevention, and yes, I am going to talk about end-of-pipe recycling in this P2 blog. Gasp if you must, and direct all criticisms to me (Joy).

WasteCap Wisconsin LogoIf you’re interested in beneficial reuse in general, and specifically in construction and demolition debris recycling, electronics recycling, and organic material recycling (composting, food donation, scraps for animal feed, etc.), check out WasteCap Wisconsin’s web site. They offer case studies, publications, training opportunities, and other resources on these issues. They also produce a monthly e-mail bulletin chock full of case studies, resources, news, information on recycling technologies, legislation, events, and profiles of member organizations. The June 2007 issue is available online, and archived issues are available all the way back to 2005. Information on signing up for the bulletin is available on the WasteCap Wisconsin home page.