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Sustainability and looking out for Mother Earth is a huge driving force behind Hedgerow Cordials and has always been part of our ethos.

The business was born out of a drive to use the bounty of ingredients that we walk/drive/cycle past everyday. Foraging keeps us in touch with nature, and the seasonality of the ingredients we use, and a lot of this hedgerow harvest would otherwise go to waste!

As the business grows we do everything possible to adhere to our founding principles. We have been very privileged to have had our work towards sustainability recognised; we won Shambala Festivals ‘Change Maker’ Award in 2018 and were shortlisted for Glastonbury’s Sustainable Trader Awards in 2017 and 2019.

Here are a few of the initiatives we take to ensure we run our business with as minimal impact as we can:

Our Ingredients

This is a massive one for us, and something we are never willing to compromise on. When an ingredient can be produced in the UK - this is what we will use.

All of the ingredients that we forage are still foraged by hand, by us! Nearly all of our UK based ingredients are grown on small local fruit farms, we are lucky to have a nursery next door and a fruit farm in the same village as our kitchen. Of the remainder, the vast majority are grown within a 30 mile radius of our kitchen. We also sometimes work with a small allotment and use up their surplus produce. We have no need for our fruit to be conventionally ‘perfect’ so can use up any so called ‘ugly fruit’ from fruit farms.

Ingredients we forage:

Nettles

Elderflowers

Blackberries

Sloes

Elderberries

Fruit we buy locally:

Raspberries

Blackcurrants

Blackberries

Strawberries

Rhubarb

Mint

Pears

Apples

Plums

Ingredients we grow at our kitchen

Mint

Pears

Apples

Smoothie Ingredients

Our Smoothies are made using British Berries - most of which are grown in East Anglia

The Smoothies are vegan and made with Apple Juice as a base. As much as we can we try to source our apple juice from suppliers local to the events we are trading at, to date this includes orchards in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Somerset. We are currently doing this at around 50% of our events. Our aim is to get this to 100% of events by working with festival wholesalers and more local fruit farms.

Seasonality

We work as much as we can in harmony with the seasons. This means that our menu on the bar changes throughout the year depending on what we can get. If we can’t get the ingredient locally - we don’t make the cordial.

Packaging

This is huge right now and so important for more businesses to be aware of their packaging and how much waste they are creating.

Here’s how we are trying to tackle this one:

- All our cordials are stored in 5 litre containers ensuring that we don’t need to use excess bottles.

- We re-use our containers. All our containers are kept in-house on a constant circulation. After use, they are cleaned and sterilised, ready to use again.

- Instead of having hundreds of individual glass bottles for the front of the bar we have one set. These bottles are filled from the 5 litre containers and re-used - there is no need for glass to be single use!

- We currently use paper compostable cups on the bar. We have done a lot of research into our cups and found these to be the best solution currently. They are by no means perfect and are still single use, so the aim is to move into a re-usable cup scheme next year.

- We have NEVER used plastic straws, we only use paper straws.

- We work with our apple juice suppliers to try and get the juice in as large a vessel as is possible to reduce the waste.

- We also encourage fruit farmers to give us our fruit in re-usable trays rather than in multiple plastic tubs.

- We have a water carbonator which we use on the bar, this eliminates the need for plastic bottles of sparkling water.

Water Wastage:

On the Bar we try to minimise any water wastage by operating a ‘fill as you go’ system. Our tank is only 25 litres, ensuring very minimal water wastage.

Waste Management:

All of the fruit pulp created when making the cordials is composted by us.


Food Wastage:

Many of our ingredients are collected as we go, meaning our food wastage is almost zero. Ingredients are either made straight into drinks or picked in season and frozen to avoid fruit waste.

All of our smoothie berries are frozen, meaning that any not used stay frozen for the next event so are not wasted.

Continuous Improvement:

We are always striving to do the best we can in terms of the environment. So here is a list of things we want to improve, and how we are planning to tackle this.

Cups:

We have done an awful lot of research into our cups, and have tried a number of solutions. Our current cups are made from paper with a thin Corn-starch PLA lining. The PLA is made from plant based material rather than oil-based. They are fully compostable. This however is where the problem lies - yes they are fully compostable but only under certain conditions - i.e. industrial composting. Some events can cope with this and have systems that can sort this. Others however do not. Some recycling schemes apparently can also cope with these cups - hence we picked them as there are two potential waste streams.

Really though, single use is never the best option. We have been wanting to move over to re-usable cups with a deposit scheme for a long time, but as a small business sometimes the upfront cost of these things can be tricky. We now however are working on a solution so watch this space for our re-usable cups in 2020!

Power:

Our dream would be to run our bar from renewable energy. This is something we have been talking about for a long time - unfortunately it is quite tricky for a couple of reasons:

1) Again the up-front cost. It is something we would be more than happy to spend the money on if we had it - but unfortunately currently we don’t.

2) The size of the solar setup we would need. Our operations don’t require a huge amount of power, but we do need to run freezers, and the consequence of not having enough power could mean a lot of defrosted fruit that would get wasted.

We are always researching this area and we welcome any advice! Our initial plan is to start with a small solar set-up for lights and non-critical appliances and go from there.

We hope this gives you a bit more information about what we are doing in terms of sustainability. We always want to do more so if you have any suggestions do let us know, or would like to ask any questions about what we do the please get in touch!