Earth Day: Saving water & sustainability

EARTH DAY - 22 April 2022

We know we depend on governments and huge companies to make the radical changes that are needed to start healing our planet. But Earth Day is a good reminder that we can all do our bit.

For example, at York Gin, a brand new water management system will save over 250,000 litres per year. 

York Gin Daniel explains the environmentally-friendly water re-use system

Global problem - small, local solutions

The vast majority of us realise we need to cut our carbon emissions. We need to consume less. And we need to re-use and recycle much more. Our use of single-use plastic has to be drastically reduced and we need to manage our waste much better. There is so much to do! 

And with only a handful of companies responsible for the majority of global warming, it’s tempting to wash our hands and say the problem is too big for us to have any effect.

Governments need to force the big polluters and carbon emitters to act, true. But we all have a role to play. As consumers we can try to make the right choices. 

Small business can help too

As a business, we can show it’s possible to make the right ethical decisions - even when they cost money. Our thinking is: if there are no humans left, we don’t have much of a business model. 

Also, customers increasingly want to see businesses acting more sustainably. So, actually, it is a good move long term for us to be as environmentally friendly as we can be. 

So here’s what York Gin are up to on Earth Day 2022. Afterwards we'll provide a snapshot of what’s next.

What's new 2022

Most recently, we have introduced a brilliant, effective, new water management system. 

This is something we’ve only been able to implement since moving to our new distillery - with the extra space it provides. And we are delighted with the huge impact it is having on our sustainability record. We use water to cool the gin vapours back down to liquid - previously we had to let this water drain away afterwards. Now, we can re-use all of  this water in a closed system. Brilliant!

The botanicals (the herbs, spices and fruit we use to flavour our gins) are now properly composted. As is all our other food waste. Another huge gain from our distillery move.

Sustainability in our DNA

Since our launch in 2018, we have used power tariffs that specifically support renewable energy production. These are more expensive. But we are adamant that business can be a force for change and lead by example.

We also drive emission-free electric vehicles. Again, these are more expensive than petrol or diesel vehicles. But we wanted to be at the forefront of the move to cleaner transport. And with fuel costs rising so much in recent months, we are saving some money. 

We source everything we possibly can locally. Here are some examples: 

- All our bottles are made in Leeds. Previously we sourced them from France. The bottles we launched last year are also considerably lighter than our original bottles. The twofold advantage is that they use less power to transport. And they use less raw ingredients and less power to make in the first place. The bottles are plastic free too.

- All our packaging and labelling are plastic free and made in Yorkshire. Again, we’ve made the conscious decision to reduce the miles these materials need to travel - and the environmental impact they have. 

- The neutral grain spirit that forms the basis of our gins is made in Yorkshire from grain grown on Yorkshire farms.

- Most of the souvenirs and gifts we sell in our shops are made locally. Our best selling items - gin signs, key rings, etc are made from upcycled wood by the brilliant York woodworkers, PurePallets. Bringing life back to previously discarded wood - and avoiding the cutting down of trees! 

Future plans 

We are currently half way through an audit of our business. We need the data about our true environmental impact before we can mitigate it. Clearly, we are doing lots to reduce our impact but we are always looking to improve - as the water system shows. But we realise that as a manufacturer we will always use some of the world’s resources. 

We will offset our carbon emissions - but we want to offset them in a meaningful and useful way. We don’t want it to be just a ‘greenwashing’ exercise for PR. 

So Sustainable Business Solutions, our excellent consultants, are working to find the very best schemes for us to support. More on this later in the year …

22nd Apr 2022 York Gin

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