Class Project Focuses on Recycling at Local Sustainable Business

Students at Bayern Brewing learning about recycling program

This fall, Associate Professor of Marketing Suzanne Tilleman presented a new project to her students in BMGT 410:  Sustainable Business Practices.  Working directly with Bayern Brewing, she asked teams of students to develop ways to expand the local business’s recycling efforts as a class project.

Bayern Brewing’s recycling program began with exchanging their six-pack holders for trade-in value on beer or merchandise.  In 2010, Bayern took this a step further by recycling its own glass, making it the first brewery in Montana to recycle its entire packaging material.  Participants use a Bayern Ecopack to recycle glass and get a refund for bottles returned to the brewery.

In the first stage of the Sustainable Business Practices class project, students had an onsite visit to the brewery to find out more about Bayern’s recycling first-hand. 

Encouraged to think creatively, each team then brainstormed and shared ways to increase rate of bottle returns within a particular channel, such as residents, curbside recycling, community efforts, and businesses.   The Bayern representative and Prof. Tilleman chose three of the six ideas on which they want each team to focus.

In the final presentations, teams will expand on three ideas and provide Bayern with a finished proposal.  The students will benefit from this arrangement as well.  They will be able to apply, start to finish, what they’re learning in class by working with a real business in the community.

“The class is exciting for me to teach for three reasons,” said Tilleman. “First, it is an elective, so the students are inherently interested in the topic.  Second, they bring very different perspectives about firm performance and environmental sustainability into the classroom, which creates a great dialogue.  Third, this is my area of research, so I am able to bring my research and the other current research I read into the classroom in a relevant way.”