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Maybe this blog should be a reminder for everyone to clean their air conditioners.

Sustainability at CMBC

A year and a half ago, Ryan, Hank, and Mop Man sat down and determined our Core Values. These are a set of principles — a code of conduct — things that we’d been doing, but it was smart of them to sit down and type them up in a Powerpoint presentation.

While everything from Be a Pro to Have Fun is important, we truly love to Be a Good Neighbor.

And that doesn’t simply mean that we should grab a burrito at the Taco Shop or carry candles from A Place on Earth in our Brewtique. We do, but we’re also charged with engaging our community near and far.

On Earth Day — and every day –, that includes being a steward to our planet. We’ve only got one, and we should leave it as we found it.

After all, it’s the only one with beer.

IMG_6324For example, this weekend, we released Twin Fin, our collaboration with Iron Hill to benefit Surfrider Foundation South Jersey, a non-profit, activist organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves, and beaches.

So, not only have we brewed a killer beer for this collaboration, but we donated $1 from the sale of each pint, tasting, and 4-pack of Twin Fin all weekend long.

And, on Saturday, we cleaned up the airport!

But that’s not all we’re doing to protect the environment. Not by a longshot. We use a lot of water and energy around here, so the least we can do is give back.

For example, we recently began outfitting almost the entire brewery with energy-saving LED lighting. While the bulbs themselves are a little more expensive, it’s totally worth it. They last about 20 times the lifespan of an incandescent bulb, using about 17% of the energy.

1M6A9809_1In addition, our new Maintenance Technician, Rob Page, has been furiously at work cleaning some of our evaporator coils. As you might imagine, we’ve got a lot of them around the brewery — in everything from air conditioners to the heat exchanger that quickly lowers the temperature of our wort before it goes into the fermenter. They get dusty and, in turn, less efficient, using more energy to do their jobs.

“Maybe this blog should be a reminder for everyone to clean their air conditioners,” Hank said.

We agree! Clean off that window unit before it starts getting unbearably hot outside — your electric bill will thank you!

As we’ve been canning, we use PacTechs — those colorful plastic holders — to keep your 6-pack together, instead of wildlife-killing ring holders. Not only won’t you see these choking a bird, they’re also made of recycled plastic. Throughout 2018, we repurposed the equivalent of 201,117 milk jugs over the course of the year, saving wildlife in the process.

Elsewhere in production, we’ve begun using reusable pallet wraps. Each pallet has up to 2,400 cans, and, if they’re not wrapped tightly, they’re going to come crashing to the ground, wasting all of that beautiful beer inside.

1M6A9529However, with these fancy-schmancy pallet wraps — from a company called Pallet Wrapz (no lie) — each wrap saves about 750 pounds of single-use plastic a year. That’s HUGE for us. We stand to keep about 90,000 pounds of earth-killing plastic out of our landfills and waterways over the course of a year.

In addition, we’re using something along the same lines to wrap the kegs in the trucks: velcro Logistraps. These little guys vastly reduce waste when compared to the plastic wrap we used to use.

And we’re being more efficient getting the beer out of the warehouse and into the world. Cape Beverage has begun using new routing software called Encompass.

“This is some really cool software,” Distribution Manager Justin Vitti says. “We’re able to optimize our routes, so that means that not only can we get more beer out there faster, we also reduce our mileage and time on the road, giving our trucks an overall smaller carbon footprint because they’re on the road less.”

IMG955146Justin’s also begun getting reusable water bottles for every employee at the company. We used to use 16-ounce plastic cups everywhere, but giving everyone a metal, refillable water bottle is not only cheaper, but it saves a ton of single-use plastic.

We’re not just being more efficient on the production and distribution side, we’re also reducing, reusing, and recycling in the Tasting Room and Brewtique.

“On a busy summer day, we’d probably go through 50 to 75 plastic straws,” says Tasting Room Manager Danielle White. “We want to save the turtles, too, so we switched to paper.”

It’s estimated that Americans go through about 500 million straws each day, with the vast majority of them being plastic. A study in 2017 estimated that there are about 8.3 billion plastic straws on beaches throughout the world. They take about 200 years to decompose. When you consider that a paper straw takes about 2-6 weeks to disintegrate into nothingness, the few cents more that they cost is a no-brainer.

IMG_6387“We also have reusable soda cups that people can purchase for $5, and that includes the soda,” Danielle says. “And you can get that refilled for a buck.”

Over in the Cape Beverage office, all of our “plasticware” is biodegradable, our paper plates are compostable, and the Flight Deck Diner is kind enough to let us use their coffee cups so we don’t have to use disposable ones. (There are some benefits to sharing a building with a diner. One is coffee cups. Another is slammin’ food. A drawback is our expanding waistlines.)

And this is just the new stuff we’ve been doing. All of our glassware has been reusable for several years, we recycle everything we can, and we’ve always sent our spent grain to area farmers.

It’s difficult to be sustainable in this industry, so we attempt to make up for it wherever we can. It’s up to all of us to leave this planet a little better than we found it.

We can do that. And we’ll leave some beer behind, too.