Toast Ale Brews Beer From Waste Bread. Now It Commits to Net-Zero Goals

The company is moving beyond its food waste reduction efforts to also pursue net-zero emissions by 2030.

Toast Ale

Toast Ale

United Kingdom-based Toast Ale takes a unique, sustainable approach to brew its award-winning beer: it is partially made from waste bread. By using the ends of loaves often thrown away by sandwich shops to replace some of the grains it would normally use to brew beer, the company hopes to both directly reduce the amount of food going to landfill, while also raising awareness about the environmental impact of growing and then promptly trashing food—one of the few things we really, truly need for survival. According to Project Drawdown, reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to curb climate change.

In and of itself, it’s an impressive concept. The waste bread portion of Toast Ale's supply chain means it is using 30% less barley than other brewers. So far the company has saved an impressive 2,067,094 slices of bread from going to landfill.

It collaborates with other breweries to help them also utilize waste bread and it has published an open-source recipe for homebrewers to get in on the action too. And the fact that Toast donates all of its profits to food waste charities—about $68,000 donated so far—makes it even more of a no-brainer for sustainably-minded drinkers who can get their hands on a can or two. (It doesn’t hurt that it’s objectively also quite delicious.)

North American-based beer enthusiasts may be salivating at this point. Unfortunately, however, Toast’s sustainability commitment means you’re out of luck in finding a stockiest over here: 

“We have a policy against export for environmental reasons so we only distribute within the UK. We can’t justify shipping heavy liquid internationally and instead collaborate with incredible breweries all over the world.” 

It’s all quite impressive. But the company is well aware that there’s more work to be done. In fact, its latest impact report commits Toast to move beyond its food waste reduction efforts to also pursue net-zero emissions by 2030. While there are, of course, a huge range of net-zero commitments from the impressive to the mediocre to the downright deceptive, it appears Toast Ale’s is the good kind. Through emissions reductions, improved brewing efficiency, waste reduction, and a pandemic-assisted reduction in travel that it hopes to make permanent, the company is clearly focused on cutting carbon dioxide at the source wherever possible.  

That won’t get it to zero though. So Toast is also committing to invest heavily in regenerative agriculture that sequesters carbon in the soil—helping to ensure that the first-use grains it uses are also doing good: 

“Whilst we work to reduce our carbon footprint, we are investing in nature-based solutions to balance our emissions with removals and build resilience into food supply chains. We are not buying offsets. Instead we’re working with Soil Heroes to invest in UK farms on regenerative journeys. Changes they make - which are measured, quantified and verified - will nurture healthy soils that can sequester more carbon and also hold more water and enhance biodiversity. They’ll also improve nutrient levels in crops to make our food healthier and tastier.” 

As anyone who follows this topic will know, caution is warranted on exactly how much CO2 can be sequestered in the soil, and how permanent that sequestration should be considered. But Toast seems to be well aware of this too, and is committed to learning more: 

“The science on soil systems is relatively new so this is a collaborative learning journey that will inform policies and practices more widely. We’re excited to be working with farmers to build a resilient and restorative farming system that feeds us (and gives us beer) whilst nurturing the planet.”

Ultimately, it’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive and impressive commitment to climate-friendly brewing. And for that, we should probably raise a glass. Cheers!