New Belgium Brewing Co., the maker of Fat Tire ale, is removing the cardboard partitions from almost all of its 12-packs. Based on the company's current level of production, that will eliminate 150 tons of cardboard and save New Belgium about $280,000 in the next year.

To compensate for the lack of partition, the company is using new, tighter packs that keep bottles from clanging against one another. New Belgium ran a test of 2,500 cases with the new packaging and reported there was no complaints or breakage issues. The company's variety Folly Packs will still have cardboard partitions because they are hand packed.

The packaging reduction is part of New Belgium's plan to reduce its carbon dioxide equivalent emission per barrel or beer by 25 percent by 2015, explained in its first sustainability report released this year. In a lifecycle analysis of a 6-pack, the company found that 48 percent of its carbon footprint is from raw and packaging materials, 5 percent is from brewing and 47 percent is from downstream impacts, the majority of which is due to retail refrigeration.

Based on its lifecycle analysis, the company plans to investigate ways to cut down on its carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by looking into switching to organic malt, decreasing the amount of energy wasted by in-store refrigeration and increasing the amount of recycled glass available for bottle making. New Belgium's bottles are made only 20 miles from its bottling plant, but the bottles on average have less than 10 percent recycled content due to a lack of amber glass recycling.

New Belgium gets all of its energy from renewable sources, a mix of wind power connected to the grid the company is on and renewable energy credits for wind power and landfill gas elsewhere. Over the next three years, New Belgium will install $4 million worth of energy load-shedding and on-site generation thanks to a grant from the Department of Energy to Fort Collins and a number of companies partnering with the city. New Belgium will install solar photovoltaic and additional co-generation systems, and metering and energy controls. Half of the funding will come from the Department of Energy, and New Belgium and in-kind donations will cover 25 percent of the costs each.