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August 4, 2022

Polar Beverages joins national recycling movement

Photo | Grant Welker Polar Beverages' headquarters on Southbridge Street in Worcester. The company has joined a nationwide movement aimed at reducing food waste and promoting recycling. 

Polar Beverages, the venerable Worcester manufacturer of sparkling water beverages, has joined a nationwide movement aimed at reducing food waste and promoting recycling. 

Polar is now part of the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance, a two-year-old partnership based in Wellesley aiming to avoid or eliminate food waste, and repurpose what can’t be eliminated into renewable energy via farm-based anaerobic digesters. 

The movement was founded in 2020 by Vanguard Renewables, Unilever, Starbucks, and Dairy Farmers of America and offers food manufacturers in the U.S. a circular approach to reducing the impact of carbon dioxide emissions, providing a pathway towards a carbon-neutral footprint.

Vanguard, which is based in Wellesley, is a developer of food and dairy waste-to-renewable energy projects. Polar Beverages recycles the wastewater from its manufacturing process at one of Vanguard’s six New England farm powered anaerobic digesters, located on dairy farms, according to a Tuesday press release from Vanguard. 

The beverage company has purchased renewable energy generated by Vanguard to power its Worcester manufacturing facility since 2015. 

“If you’re reckless with natural resources, it’s very expensive. What Vanguard Renewables is doing, it’s just spectacular. They’re combining food waste with cow waste, and they’re gathering all this methane; and they’re generating power,” Chris Crowley, executive vice president of Polar, said in the press release. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to join the FPSA and further our commitment to being stewards of the environment.” 

Over the years, Polar has undertaken various sustainability measures, including transitioning to fridge-style packaging on 12 packs with no secondary tray, a move that eliminates 31% of potential wasted material. It has reduced water usage by more than 75,000 gallons per day, with the goal of cutting that by 50,000 more gallons a day over the next year, and reduced miles driven for delivery by more than 3.5 million miles over the last three years. 

Other food brands that joined the alliance with Polar include Chobani, Kikkoman Corp., Schreiber Foods, and Hillebrand.

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