Sustainability Gains – A Toast To DB Breweries

A recent report from a brewing powerhouse has highlighted how key decisions in the supply chain can make a massive difference to New Zealand’s sustainability goals.

DB Breweries released its sustainability report at the end of July. Within the comprehensive release, the company was proud to share the news that they had removed 17 tonnes of plastic from their supply chain in 2019 – part of an overall 10% reduction in total waste since 2018.

It comes as part of a major initiative from the brewing giant, one that was ramped up in 2019 with a full mapping and auditing of all plastic use across their business.

Using Nanowrap DB is expected to reduce plastic stretch wrap usage by 30% or around 15 tonnes annually.

“We speak often about consumers needing to reduce their waste, but in my view, there isn’t enough pressure and progress from companies to do the same. We are one step further up the chain, so if we can reduce what we use at our level, it will have a significant impact,” commented Peter Simons, Managing Director of DB Breweries.

As part of this audit, Universal Packaging was called in to assess their pallet packaging operation. Jed Goudie led the audit and subsequent testing, analysis and reporting.

“We quickly identified the red plastic sheets on their pallets as something we couldn’t recycle,” noted Goudie.

“From there it was simply a matter of working with DB to create a better solution. As a result, they changed to Universal Packaging’s recyclable clear plastic sheet for all their customers nationwide.”

Testing the wrap parameters and machine settings was another key component within the process.

“We reduced the plastic stretch wrap used for exporting products annually at the brewery by over 2 tonnes. This was achieved by reducing the amount used on pallets bound for export while maintaining safety and security of the products,” Goudie added.

The changes took place against a backdrop of institutional change that mixed bold commercial developments with fun educational projects.

Here DB looked at a number of small changes that when combined, would deliver a big improvement. The company removed plastic bottled water from the in-house cafeteria at their Waitemata Brewery and replaced plastic plates and cutlery with commercially compostable alternatives. Staff also attended a workshop where they learned to make environmentally friendly beeswax wraps, the raw material arriving fresh from onsite hives.

The big gains were made with the switch to Nanowrap 15 however, which took place last October.

“Towards the end of the year we oversaw the change (to Nanowrap),” said Goudie.

“It was great to see the end result from all our testing – and it’s made a big difference at DB.”

According to the sustainability report, the change to the stronger, more stretchable pallet wrap is expected to reduce plastic stretch wrap usage by 30% or around 15 tonnes annually.

The drop in plastic use has been achieved via collaboration and innovation, with reducing stretch wrap on pallets one of the biggest changes. Tackling plastics will continue to be a priority for the company, with a focus on reducing and recycling onsite plastic, collaborating with suppliers, and sustainable packaging solutions.

You can view the whole sustainability report from DB Breweries here.

To learn more about Universal Packaging and their sustainable stretch wrap Nanowrap and to request a free sample roll, click here