Beer Rescue Puts Landfill Employees in Hot Water


Image via TreeHugger.com, who will not stand idly by while beer goes to waste.

Save the Beers!
File this story under, "That Ain't Right!" Two employees of the Columbia, Missouri Solid Waste Division and beer rescuing heroes, Beer Heroes or Beeroes, if you will, have made headlines for rescuing some 50-odd cases of beer from being needlessly destroyed at the landfill, at which they work. Sadly, the headline wasn't "Beer Heroes Save The Day!" Rather, they are that these men may lose their jobs and face criminal charges. This injustice must not be allowed to stand!

Here's what happened...According to the story in the Columbia Tribune, which includes what is arguably one of the biggest understatements in human history (more on that in a bit), on April 1, 2010 some 1,500 cases (CASES!) of beer were dumped in the landfill. After 700 of the 1,500 cases were destroyed (Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!) these two American heroes did the only thing patriotic, sensible humans could do: they loaded up as much beer as they could possibly carry and called it a victory for The Good Guys. And it was a victory, one to be celebrated with say a couple truck loads of free beer, even, that is until word got back to the fun haters in the main office who are going by the book on this one and calling the beer salvaging rescue effort, which some are now calling Operation Safe Suds, a theft and possibly a matter for the police. See, because anything left at the landfill officially becomes city property, these city employees were technically stealing this beer. One of the employees has already resigned from his position and both may face criminal charges.

Well, you don't need me to tell you how dumb this is. But I will. It's so dumb! And freaking wasteful! The blogosphere took note when H&M; and a Wal-Mart distributor got busted destroying and throwing out perfectly good clothes and TreeHugger followed up on wasteful practices at Urban Outfitters who were throwing out even more products. Readers were rightly outraged. And that was just clothes and toy phones! We're talking about beer here, people! If you saw a couple pallets-worth of beer just sitting there waiting to be destroyed, wouldn't you rescue a few bottles? And if you had access to some trucks wouldn't you take 50 cases? Okay, well maybe we wouldn't all take 50 cases, but you've got to admit you can see where these guys were coming from. I've never been in this situation, but I can certainly see how these guys, tired & dirty from a hard day's work of moving trash around and all of a sudden seeing cases and cases of beer tempting you like a damn mirage in the middle of the desert. If we were in that situation, we'd all be eating sand and hauling off cases before you know it.

Image via Eye on Springfield
Biggest Beer-Related Understatement In History
When explaining the motives behind why one would want to take some free beer, the evil man responsible for dumping the beer, Joe Priesmeyer said, "Beer is a popular product."

It sure is, Joe. It sure as hell is. Which is why it's a damn shame that two hard working employees find themselves out of work and possibly facing criminal charges for rescuing some of that popular product.

Image via Eye on Springfield
Save the Beers! Uniting America With a Common Cause
America, we cannot allow this injustice to stand! If there's one thing that can bring America together it is a love of beer. We've got problems when we criminalize attempts to reduce waste...even more so when we're talking about rescuing beer! It's time we do something about it! I hereby am launching the Save the Beers Campaign. This is an effort to bring attention to Beer-related waste. Share this story with your friends, family and elected representatives. Post our "Save the Beers!" image on your blog, Facebook profile or any spare billboards you have access to as a sign of solidarity. And don't waste ANY beer yourself. One drop wasted is one drop too many! And if you think beer is precious (obvious), think about everything else that gets thrown out and wasted and try and figure out how to recycle (and maybe earn some cash in the process) or reuse those items.

There are so many ways to have put this beer to use besides wastefully dumping it in the landfill. Just to give you an idea of what possibilities weren't realized, I present...

8 Ways To Use Beer, Because Only A Crazy Person Would Throw it In the Landfill, Right?

1. First, it's beer! Drink it! T'is beer, people! BEER! Add some ice to that and you have ICE COLD BEER! Call some friends and throw a party. Ideally all of the empty bottles are recycled.

2. Donate the beer! Give a case or two to your employees or take some down to the VA as a treat for the veterans.

3. Compost the beer! If you just can't bring yourself to drink it, you can compost beer.

4. Feed the beer to pigs! Pigs can help us get rid of lots of food waste, beer included.

5. Cook with the beer! From beer brat sauce to beer bread, beer can be used in a number of recipes. Beer can chicken is something I have enjoyed cooking in the past and find is a good way to put a few cans of beer you may not want to drink to use. For the omnivores that haven't tried this, here is a good recipe for Beer Can Chicken on Planet Green and another Beer Can Chicken from Cookstr.

6. Pour it on your head! Beer apparently does good things for your hair, so if you can't drink it or cook with it, you might as well take a beer shower. You'll save money on expensive hair products, look good and smell like a night on the town. Win Win Win!

7. Build a beer bottle temple! Now, I wouldn't expect this company in Missouri to build a temple, but you can build a temple out of beer bottles, but the fact there is a temple made from beer bottles goes to show the lost potential in tossing these 1,500 cases into the landfill.

8. Recycle the packaging, at least! While we'd certainly rather see the beer enjoyed and the fruits of the energy and labor used to produce it put to good use, at least they could save the recyclable materials from the landfill. Crush the bottles or cans, remove the liquid and recycle the glass or aluminum.

In short, just don't waste so much stuff. Especially if it's beer. ICE COLD BEER, yall!

Note: 50 Cases of Beer is Drop in the Bucket of Waste
Now, it's worth mentioning that in the grand scheme of things these 1,500 cases are a drop in a proverbial bucket of wasted food in this country and around the world. We recently posted about the £12+ billion in food waste in the U.K., GOOD Magazine informed us the average American wastes half a pound of food a DAY and that's just the start of disturbing facts about how much food we collectively waste. This story is a good opportunity to stop and think about the policies and practices that exist and whether those help to solve or perpetuate our wastefulness. Sadly, It's cheaper or less work for this distributor to just throw away this beer. You know those glass beer bottles would never have been left for destruction in the landfill if we still had refillable beer bottles and redeemable deposits for every bottle.

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