Worthy’s Current Sustainability Practices
Worthy has always been a proponent of operating green and donating to environmental causes, organizations and initiatives. Some of the ways Worthy works toward sustainable business strategy is by focusing on process efficiencies, alternative energy solutions, waste reduction, repurposing and innovative packaging, local sourcing, and education to our staff and community about what we’re doing to be more sustainable so others can join in too.
We believe there is no place like home so we invest in green technologies and practices. We are not perfect, but we continue to learn, ask questions, and evolve through responsible innovation and collaboration with our fellow Central Oregonians.
See below for what we’re doing now to keep Worthy Brewing sustainable.
Green Brewing Process
- We source our malt [barley] from Great Western Malting in Vancouver, WA.
- Our Heart & Soul specialty beers often use malt from Mecca Grade Estate Malt based in Madras, OR.
- More than 80% of our hops are sourced from the Willamette Valley in OR.
- Every Worthy beer uses hops that are certified Salmon Safe, which means the hops are cultivated under practices that protect water quality, maintain watershed health and restore our Pacific Northwest habitat for native salmon.
- We have 117 rooftop solar panels; 56 of those are dedicated to heating and storing water so our boilers don’t have to work as hard to hear the water needed throughout the brewing process. We also have 48 solar panels on our awning above the Star Bar.
- In total, Worthy’s solar panels produce 55K kWhs, providing a yearly average of 10% of our power. In the summer months, that percent increases to 30-50%. We spare the atmosphere about 15 tons of CO2 emissions annually (and even save some money!).
- Greene Bros Ranch picks up our spent grain 3-4 times a week for cattle feed. When possible and for special events, Worthy purchases beef from Greene Bros to feature in select dishes.
- Boundless Farmstead picks up our spent hops, yeast, and trub [spinoff from the whirlpool] for compost. When possible, Worthy purchases Boundless Farm produce for its menu from local food distributor, Agricultural Connections.
- Worthy has used Eugene, OR PakTech can carriers since June 2013. PakTech carriers are made from 100% post-consumer material, repurposed from milk jugs and similar containers. They weigh lighter than cardboard and are produced with 98% less water, making them a preferred packaging choice.
- In February 2019, Worthy became one of the only places in Deschutes County to recycle PakTech carriers. The carriers are not currently recyclable in Deschutes County, so Worthy collects carriers from consumers and delivers them to PakTech’s facility in Eugene. PakTech repurposes the carriers, turning them into things like pipe, composite lumber and planter pots.
Green Restaurant Operations
- At both of its pubs, Worthy Brewing on the East Side and Worthy Brewing Taps & Tacos downtown, Worthy prioritizes sourcing from Central Oregon farmers, ranchers and food purveyors.
- In the summer months, Worthy sources honey, summer produce, herbs and edible flowers from Worthy Garden Club (WGC), a 501c3 that manages a garden onsite at the brewery.
Waste Reduction & Repurposing
- All raw produce scraps (green waste) are collected then provided to Boundless Farm, which are then used for compost.
- All post-consumer food scraps are collected then used to feed pigs at Michael Huener’s farm.
- Worthy has also worked to reduce water waste and has achieved this by making tableside water service ‘by request only’ for guests. During the warm summer months, Worthy places water stations around the patio so guests can retrieve as needed.
- Spent oil from Worthy’s pub fryers is collected by Sequential Co. and turned into biodiesel.
- Worthy has worked to eliminate plastic across its pub operations. All facets of Worthy’s business have gone straw-less. When straws are required or requested, compostable and paper straws are provided.
- To encourage even less waste, Worthy has made straws ‘by request only’ for guests.
- All of Worthy’s to-go packaging in the pub are either compostable paper, or in cases where more durable material is required, Worthy has implemented PLA plant-based sugar products that have the rigidity of plastic but decompose in a matter of months.
2019 Sustainability Initiatives
While Worthy has implemented numerous green initiatives and adopted greener technologies to align with its sustainability strategy, Worthy recognizes that there are always opportunities to do more, to strive to do better, to lead by example, to innovate responsibly. Looking to the future, Worthy’s ongoing efforts and discovery projects are listed below. These are efforts and actions that Worthy is striving toward – and will continue to update our Central Oregon community on when progress has been made.
At the beginning of 2019, Worthy started a Sustainability Committee comprised of interested staff from all areas of the company – from brewery to restaurants to events to administrative staff. After just three meetings, the Committee has grown from a handful of employees to more than 20 individuals who want to learn and help improve Worthy’s sustainability strategy and practices. One of the first initiatives that came out of the Committee was to introduce a recycling solution for PakTech carriers. This was recently launched at Worthy’s East Side location on February 1st. All members of the community can recycle their PakTech carriers at Worthy’s east side location or Worthy Taps and Tacos downtown. With every visit, guests responsibly recycling their carriers will receive $1 off a pint or a 6-pack.
Onsite Recycling Best Practices
To continue to learn, Worthy has hired The Broomsmen to perform a waste stream analysis on both the brewery operations and the restaurant operations. From this analysis, The Broomsmen is putting together a comprehensive guide on what Worthy can do to improve its recycling and composting efforts onsite. This will include recommended solutions, proper signage for staff and guests, and staff training. Stay tuned!
Alternative Packaging Solutions
One alternative to the plastic PakTech carriers that Worthy has researched is a 6-pack ring made from byproduct waste and other compostable materials. When disposed of properly, the E6PR finds its way to a compostable facility, where it will degrade in days, and when, unfortunately, left out in the open land or a water system, it will degrade in a matter of weeks. This material, when composted, does not cause harm to wildlife in case of ingestion.
Community Composting with Worthy Garden Club
In partnership with WGC, Worthy is implementing a neighborhood composting program that allows community members to compost at their homes then bring their compost to Worthy. Worthy will store then provide the compost to local farmers. Worthy and WGC are still fine-tuning the logistics of this program but plan to launch a pilot run in April. Be sure to follow both Worthy and WGC on social media for updates!
Brewery Waste Water (BWW) Disposal
Worthy has been and continues to be in conversations with fellow Central Oregon breweries and the City of Bend (COB) to find a sustainable solution to the increasing amount of BWW that is hitting Bend’s sewage system.
- BWW consists of extra high strength waste, which is yeast, trub, spec beer and other organic materials from the brewing process.
- Municipal wastewater treatment has a very high carbon footprint due to the carbon production and the generation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) during the local BWW treatment process.
- These GHGs (carbon dioxide and methane) are then dispersed directly into the atmosphere.
- Carbon dioxide and methane are devastating to the environment and are one of the leading causes to the warming of the planet.
Currently, the most cost-effective and commonly practiced solutions to BWW are to
- repurpose the solid waste into fertilizer via Agricycle and
- provide the BWW solids or spent grains to local cattle ranchers as feed to cattle.
However, as Bend continues to grow, and the amount of BWW continues to increase, these solutions won’t continue to be viable because of the increased odor from the agricultural smells – and the sheer volume is too much for the land to need or absorb. Furthermore, when the spent grains are fed to cattle, the grains are eventually converted to GHGs via digestion then released into the atmosphere.
In November 2018, recognizing the issue of increasing amounts of BWW being generated from Central Oregon’s craft beer economy, Worthy attended a roundtable meeting with the COB, the State of Oregon, EDCO, Crux, Deschutes, 10 Barrel, Sidestream Energy and Purpose Energy to discuss a potential solution. The proposed solution is to sidestream all BWW and divert it to an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) system, which is a similar process to the gut of a cow. This process creates clean water and renewable energy.
The renewable energy is a biogas that can be used to produce carbon neutral fuel, heat or electricity. Given the COB’s high volume of GHGs generated from commercial energy (23%), per the COB’s Community Climate Action Plan, this AD system could pose a sustainable solution to two growing strains on Central Oregon’s environment.
As this discussion progresses, Worthy will provide updates here and on social media.