Since the beginning -- and it's hard to pinpoint exactly when it officially sprouted -- I've consistently been of two minds regarding the mighty "green movement."
On one hand, I love that this important issue is finally getting the global attention it's needed to make an impact on our planet. I love that people like Jim Rogers, the CEO of Duke Energy, went on "The Colbert Report" last night to talk about reducing his mega-huge coal-based energy company's carbon footprint -- no matter what his real motives might be.
It doesn't matter if he's just recently realized that being ranked No. 13 on the list of corporate producers of air pollution in the country doesn't look so hot when the nation's fixated on sustainable, clean energy sources. The point is, he's motivated to evolve his company to keep up with what has become a certain environmental expectation.
It's especially interesting to watch something that was once considered "progressive" become common practice.
On the other hand, I'll be the first to admit that green's commercialization has its backlashes. With so many companies capitalizing on it, it can be difficult to discern which among them are the real eco warriors and who are more interested in the other kind of green. Plus, it's easy to see how people can get annoyed or overwhelmed if they're constantly made aware of what more they can and should be doing to save the planet.
And that's why I think Milwaukee Brewing Co. has taken a smart approach to sharing its green initiatives. In fact, I felt motivated to write this blog after buying a six-pack of Pullchain Pale Ale the other day. As I grabbed the beer out of the cooler, I noticed a small laminated bookmark shoved into the cardboard packaging. One side told me to save my crowns (beer caps) to redeem for prizes, and the other side was a simple list of the brewery's renewable energy practices.
It listed eight of them with short descriptions:
- Recycled equipment
- Reusing heat
- Reusing vegetable oil to run the boiler
- Reusing water
- Reusing vegetable oil fuel byproducts for cleaning
- Buying back bottle packaging
- Composing spent grain
- Using aluminum cans
I thought, how cool. They don't hype the green side of their company to death, but the information is there for the people who are interested in knowing and supporting those values. Still, it's easily ignored for those who don't want to hear about it every time someone recycles a can.
Kudos, Milwaukee Brewing Company. Being green is obviously an important part of your business model, but it's not the biggest part. After all, you've got beer to brew.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”