Fetzer Vineyards Is First Wine Company To Receive Zero Waste Certification

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

Fetzer Vineyards.
Photo: Fetzer

Fetzer Vineyards announced that it has received platinum level Zero Waste certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC). Platinum certification, the highest level offered by the USZWBC, recognizes the company for successfully diverting 97.7% of its waste from landfill, incineration and the environment.

“Our certification program holds to the highest standards and is one of the toughest in the country, so reaching the platinum level is a great accomplishment,” said Stephanie Barger, founder and executive director of USZWBC. “Fetzer Vineyards has been a long time partner of the Zero Waste movement. Recognizing and documenting Fetzer’s achievements beyond recycling to reduce, retrain, and redesign systems increases its bottom-line and motivates other companies to take the next step.”

“Since our founding in 1968, Fetzer Vineyards has been a pioneer in sustainable business practices,” said Josh Prigge, sustainability manager at Fetzer Vineyards. “We are honored to be the first wine company to achieve Zero Waste certification. This achievement reinforces that companies can work to create a closed loop system that is both profitable and sustainable.”

The main reason businesses participate in the USZWBC Zero Waste Certification program is to drive their programs beyond recycling to Zero Waste analysis, leadership, purchasing, and total participation. The goal of Zero Waste is to divert all end-use material from landfill, incineration, and the environment, while achieving a minimum of 90% diversion based on the standards set by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA). Fetzer Vineyards is exceeding this by 7.7%.

To date, Fetzer Vineyards has reduced its environmental impact in the following areas:

  • Diverted 97.7% of all waste from landfills and incineration in 2013 through recycling, reusing, and composting used materials;
  • Diverted approximately 2,807 tons of total waste from landfill in 2013, equal to the weight of about 1,400 cars;
  • Exceeded the California State Mandate of 75% diversion (AB341) by 2017;
  • Composted 3.6 million pounds of grape skins, stems, and seeds in 2013, which is then reintroduced into its vineyards as fertilizer;
  • Became the first winery in California to operate on 100% renewable energy in 1999; and
  • Saved more than $388,000 per year from disposal costs and including revenue for recycling.