Since first opening our doors in 2013, a lot of growth and change has happened here at Hi-Wire, and it’s been exciting to say the least! We’ve expanded our taprooms into new locations, grown as a team, and added a slew of new, delicious beers to our repertoire. But something we might be most proud of is our growth in sustainability initiatives.
In 2021, there were an average of 181 million barrels of beer brewed in the US. And with that industry number, we know there’s inevitably a large amount of waste that comes with it. While we only brew a fraction of that amount here at Hi-Wire, we’re committed to doing our part to support the health and longevity of our community and our planet. So as we say sayonara to 2022, we wanted to share a round-up of our sustainability initiatives for the year.
Recycling Cooperative with Sierra Nevada
This year, we linked up with Sierra Nevada to be a part of a recycling co-op initiative that they spearheaded. With a grant from Sonoco Recycling and support from many other awesome breweries in Asheville (Zillicoah, Wicked Weed, Bhramari, Asheville Brewing, Burial, Buchi, and New Belgium) we were able to collaboratively install a recycling facility in Candler that allows us to break down some of our harder to break down materials.
To give you a deeper dive, here’s a rundown of some of the products that are now easily recycled. Fun fact, none of the items below were recyclable in a single-stream recycling process before this collaborative initiative.
- Polypropylene (PP#5) – malt bags, keg caps, plastic bottle caps, tier sheets
- Low density polyethylene film (LDPE #4) – stretch wrap, plastic wraps, bubble wrap
- Polyethylene terephthalate strapping (PET #1) – plastic strapping that’s typically used to hold materials to pallets
- High density polyethylene (HDPE #2) – buckets, drums, and paktech can holders
As you can imagine, we use a lot of these products during brewing, production, and shipping, so having a one-stop shop to be able to recycle all of these materials has been a game changer for us and for our Asheville community of breweries.
Since we began dropping off recycling at Sonoco in December of 2021, our total amount of recycled materials to date is 17,140 pounds. And we’re looking forward to growing that number into 2023!
When you pick up a Hi-Wire 6-pack, you might be so excited to crack open a cold one that you rip off the cans without noticing or thinking about the packaging. But next time you grab a 6-pack, we challenge you to take a second to check out the can carrier. These little holders are produced by Paktech, a manufacturing company that uses recycled HDPE plastic to create 100% recyclable packaging handles and automated application equipment.
Unfortunately, because of their shape, these little carriers don’t always get sorted properly at recycling facilities, so we decided to do something about it to make recycling easier.
We’ve placed buckets in our taprooms and now accept Paktech carriers for separated recycling at all Asheville locations, Charlotte, Durham, Wilmington and Knoxville. So come by and see us for a brew and drop off your carriers! We’re making it easy on you.
Recycling Paper Products with Asheville Waste Paper Co.
Another company we’ve been fortunate to work with is Asheville Waste Paper Co., located in Asheville’s River Arts District. This collaboration has given us an opportunity to not only work with a great local company, but it’s also made it possible for us to reduce the number of recycling pickups we have from our single stream provider. Asheville Waste Paper Co.’s close proximity — in between our Big Top and RAD facilities — gives us a convenient location to drop off cardboard and paper when traveling between facilities.
Since we began working with Asheville Waste Paper Co. in August of 2022, our total amount of recycled materials is 7,920 pounds.
Online Shopping You Can Feel Good About
This year, we fully transitioned all shipping supplies to compostable, recycled/recyclable, and/or reused materials. We even include a little card with your package that details our commitment to sustainability.
Taking Care of our Local Environment in Asheville
Our little mountain town of Asheville is near and dear to our hearts. To give back and take care of our local environment, we decided to adopt Meadow Road that runs in front of our Biltmore location. Yes, we’re officially parents, and we even have signs out front from the city to prove it!
Once a month, we get together and have a staff cleaning day, picking up trash and making sure the road gets the love and care it needs. We love the opportunity to do some team bonding and give back too — it’s a win-win.
Staying Accountable for Our Carbon Footprint
What is a carbon footprint, and why does it matter? Well, let’s talk about what it means first. In simple terms, a carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions. In the United States, the average carbon footprint per person is 16 tons, which is A LOT. We know we can do better, and here at Hi-Wire, we’re challenging ourselves to stay accountable for our footprint as a company.
This year, we went through a carbon footprint audit of our Asheville facilities. We calculated how much energy we consumed in terms of natural gas and electricity and then compared ourselves to other mid-sized breweries in the area. It was eye opening and showed us areas where we can improve.
Hi-Wire Brewing’s Sustainability Goals for 2023
There’s always room for improvement, right? And even though we’ve come a long way, we also know there’s more to do! So as we head into 2023, we’re hoping to expand our sustainability initiatives across all of our taproom locations.
One step at a time, we’re making progress, and we’re so grateful for your support as we learn, grow, and improve our sustainability initiatives. Cheers!