Sustainability is very important to us at Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers. We are proud to be one of a handful of Irish food producers which have qualified for the Origin Green Gold Award.
Cashel Solar Project
In 2012 we began our solar energy production and have now installed 519 solar panels on the roof of our premises, and amazingly we now can generate enough electricity to power the whole cheesemaking during at least 6 months of the year! In the winter they still power most of the cheesemaking, but we need additional energy, which is bought in from our local Kill Hill wind farm, just up the road. Here is Louis Clifton Brown, our Environmental Manager, giving a little overview:
We aim to minimize our impact on the environment through purchasing materials with the lowest environmental footprint. We request Forestry Sustainable Certified cardboard for boxes with more than 70% recycled pulp content. Plastic material for cheese trays are PVC free, made from 80% recycled rPET material, white in colour and can be locally recycled (dependant on service providers). Aluminium foil is from 30% recycled material and can be recycled an infinite number of times. Recycled aluminium uses only 5% of the energy required to produce new aluminium from bauxite ore. We are still not content with our current achievements. We keep working to improve further and are currently looking to reduce total plastic use per kilo of cheese packed, and to increase recycled content within the materials. We are certified by Repak for compliance with their sustainable guidelines for packaging and packaging waste.
A reed bed system means our water management is environmentally sustainable. We recently expanded the dairy, and built our own water treatment plant. Here’s a short clip of Louis Clifton Brown, our systems man, talking about how it works. (video courtesy of UTV’s ‘Rare Breed’)
Biodiversity and Wildlife
Our cheeses are the produce of a 200-acre farm and, in order to ensure the continuing health of the farmland and the environment, we dedicate 20% of the farm to biodiversity. We have nature corridors throughout the farm, and plant woodland groves and hedgerows. This allows wildlife to flourish in communion with a busy working farm. Our hedgerows are carefully re-laid in the traditional manner, creating a welcoming habitat for birds and small wildlife, as well as giving shelter to the Cashel Blue girls (our cows) on a wet and windy day. Every twenty years we undertake an intensive replanting programme of native, deciduous trees.