Here’s what are doing thus far…
At the distillery from the start we recycled all the hot water from the wood fired still to heat the floors in the fermentation room through the in-floor heating system. We also use any excess hot water within the distillery itself – washing floors, dishes etc. By doing so, we estimate that we save more than 500,000 liters of water per year. When we install our new still this fall we are aiming to have a totally closed water cooling system for it which will require little to no additional water once in operation. It will heat the new barrel barn addition through the in-floor system as well as the upstairs offices through a series of water filled radiators.
We have been members of Bullfrog Power and supporters of green energy since the very beginning of the business – 2009.
We source our glass through Saver Glass in France. Their glass is much more expensive than the bottles we could get from China but the Saver Glass company has very high standards in the area of sustainability as opposed to most Chinese manufacturers who have much more murky regulations. The quality of the glass and the efficiency of the Saver Glass packing techniques is top notch and means that over the past ten years there has been absolutely 0% breakage in transit. That’s correct not a single broken and thus wasted bottle. Plus the carbon footprint of the shipping is much less. The containers from Saver Glass are shipped via container vessel from Le Havre France through Halifax – a three day journey rather than one over several weeks from China.
The company car is a 15 year old Prius. (The next car likely will be completely electric – but the Prius is a Toyota and thus simply refuses to die! ) The company truck is a four cylinder Ford City Express. Both are extremely fuel efficient. Pierre & I both ALWAYS drive under 100km/hr. That saves a ton of fuel as well. We also never leave our vehicles idling.
We refuse to use plastic cups for anything – ever. If we are at events where we are supplying our customers with samples of our products, we serve in plain, unlined, paper cups or we use glassware that is collected, cleaned and re-used. If I could see the end of the red plastic SOLO cup in my lifetime I would be a very very happy woman. As a customer I encourage anyone who is being handed a beverage sample in a plastic cup to think twice about taking it…..and ask the person handing it to you if they have ever considered using plain paper….
We have never used plastic packaging. We use paper bags or poly-propylene re-usable bags. While paper bags have a higher carbon footprint than many plastic film shopping bags, their “afterlife” is not as toxic to the environment.
Our craft spirits festival “Spirited Away in Lunenburg” which we hold every October, we keep as close to Zero-Waste as we possibly can. Our event catering uses only genuinely compostable utensils made from bamboo or birch and dinnerware made from paper and manufactured in Hantsport NS – (nothing that is “greenwashed” for marketing purposes like PLA plastics – corn based plastics that are perpetually promoted as compostable which is pretty much a lie across the country) . Our events and seminars use either glassware that we keep at the distillery from year to year or sponsored glasses that our guests get to take home with them at the end.
Our products are made from fruit sourced entirely in Nova Scotia – apples, pears, berries, maple syrup. The only major ingredient that we cannot source in the province is the base for rum – which of course must be made from sugar cane or a derivative. We settled on using Crosby’s Molasses which we get from the molasses importer Crosbys’ in Saint John NB. We used to make our liqueurs with a corn ethanol distilled by a big firm in Quebec but now we are able to produce enough neutral spirit on our own here so we don’t need to rely on outside sources for those products any more.
We are also fortunate in that our business is in Nova Scotia. This province has been in the lead nationally on garbage separation, recycling and composting practices for decades. Nova Scotia also has a robust bottle deposit system. Those of us who produce anything in glass bottles are required to charge our customers a fixed fee depending on the size and nature of the container. We then have to remit those collected fees to the agency “Divert Nova Scotia”. Part of these fees is used to reimburse the customers who bring back their containers to the Divert NS depots throughout the province. The remainder of the money is used to fund a diverse group of professionals who monitor and enforce the recycling efforts and also provide outreach to schools and other groups to educate about best practices in this area.