Our Green Initiatives
Environmental initiatives are a core fundamental at Merridale Ciderworks. We have recently partnered with local companies to decrease our carbon footprint and give back to the enviroment that has supplied us with amazing apples over the years. Our recent partnerships include Économusée, The Cowichan Recyclists and The Land Conservancy.
The Cowichan Recyclists
In February 2012 we started working with locally owned and operated Cowichan Recyclists to take our recycling to the next level. Cowichan Recyclists is the environmentally minded brainchild of Katie Harris and Aaron Bichard, two devoted community members who have a serious affection for the Valley. In 2007, faced with a lack of recycling services for businesses and residents in Duncan’s downtown, they took on the challenge to offer a zero pollution solution. Using bicycles and locally made trailers they began picking up recycling and diverting waste from the landfill. Since then they’ve expanded their services to include commercial food waste and have kept their promise to have minimal impact by using only sustainable transportation. Besides the bikes and trailers, they have added a small truck running off 100% bio diesel derived from waste vegetable oil collected here in the region.
As the company’s goal is to help their partners work toward zero waste, Cowichan Recyclists individualizes every service to meet the needs of the unique businesses, and helps implement changes. At Merridale Ciderworks, that change started in the kitchen. Food waste including plate scrapings, food soiled paper, cardboard and of course, apple cores, is separated into its own bin. Plastics, paper, glass and metal is also separated and kept aside for recycling. With an eye on supporting local solutions, the food waste is sent to a commercial compost facility on Vancouver Island and turned into nutrient rich soil. The gas emitted through the composting process is captured and burned to produce energy. The efforts of Cowichan Recyclists, along with those of our dedicated staff, mean we are able to reduce the amount of trash headed to the landfill and keep the environmental costs associated with that to a minimum.
We are proud to share that we have had a strong start with the Cowichan Recyclists and that all of our waste has been uncontaminated, which means our kitchen staff are on top of things! Since we began in mid-February, approximately 1 tonne of Organics from the kitchen has been diverted from taking the long trip to the landfill in Washington State. That's a significant difference in a short time and it has all been done using sustainable transportation.
The Land Conservancy
We are currently embarking on a partnership program with the TLC (The Land Conservancy) that will focus on the bees. This is a very exciting project for us. What could be more worthy of attention than the bee! Most of you are aware that the honey bee is in danger and we have lost a good portion of the bee population on the island. At merridale, we have focused on a good habitat for the bees for many years, but with our good friend Nathalie Chambers from the TLC we will be putting more focus on plant life and nests on our property. And just what will those nest look like? Well, think about beautiful homes made from ceramic pots and tea pots. It might sound a little strange, but we think you will find it very appealing and beautiful once installed in our orchard walk. Certainly the bees will be happy to call it home.