Bacardi Goes Green for Earth Day
Two new tourist attractions opened in Puerto Rico for Earth Day. Bacardi Rum unveiled the first ever industrial scale wind project on the island, two wind turbines which can be seen from miles away. The turbines are expected to generate enough electricity to power tourism related activities at the Casa Bacardi Visitor Center at their distillery outside of San Juan. Now the quarter of a million visitors who come to the Center each year can truly learn about and enjoy rum guilt-free.
Bacardi is no stranger to corporate responsibility and environmental leadership. "Here in Puerto Rico, Bacardi pioneered and patented the anaerobic treatment of distillery wastewater now used by other companies around the world," said Jon Grey, vice president of global operations for Bacardi. "We use this anaerobic digester technology to treat wastewater which derives energy. In that process, micro-organisms naturally degrade waste materials, creating biogas, or methane, in the process." These natural biogas are fed into boilers which help power the distillery. The process saves roughly half of the energy required to run them, reducing the need for imported gas or oil.
Additionally, carbon dioxide created during the fermentation process is recovered and sent to third parties, mostly for use in carbonated beverages. At the Cataño site, Bacardi treats wastewater used in the cooling process, saving 22,000 gallons of water a day. And, on a local level, the company recycles aging barrels by chopping them into mulch for employees to use in their garden and on company greens. They even cut and sew old marketing banners into reusable shopping bags for employees.
Bacardi says the Puerto Rico wind power project is an exploration into further possible alternative energy projects. It's always welcome news to see more and more "green" beverages pop up in the marketplace, but even more amazing to see a global leader in spirits take the lead on environmental initiatives on a corporate level. "Puerto Rico relies on fossil fuels for virtually all its energy, so we hope other companies will follow this great leadership by Bacardi to use wind energy and other renewable energy sources," said Puerto Rico Governor Luis G. Fortuño.