At Black Apple, we take our environmental footprint seriously. It’s something we think about every day. We’re committed to doing as much as we can to be good stewards in the Natural State, while making it easy for our customers to do the same. This Plastic-Free July, we thought we’d share some of the things we’ve done to lessen our impact.
First, the Boston Mountain Solid Waste District conducted a waste audit on Black Apple. It wasn’t pretty. We were surprised to learn that around half of what we were throwing away was recyclable. They helped us develop a plan to do better. We cut our waste dumpster in half and got a second, equal-sized dumpster for our recyclables. If you’re in Black Apple, you may notice we’ve replaced all trash cans with a three-bin system that has a spot for cans, a spot for plastics and a spot for waste.
Food Loops, located right here in Northwest Arkansas, has been a great partner in helping us dramatically cut down on plastic use. They helped us find alternatives for all plastic goods that we use in the taproom. Our straws, popcorn containers, and our Briar Rose brunch containers are all biodegradable products provided by Food Loops. We also use biodegradable products for any disposable cups that we use for events and tastings outside of the taproom.
On the production side, our commitment to making cider the old-fashioned way stands us in good stead. Our ciders are all natural with no added preservatives or additives that would have harmful environmental consequences. But we do have a lot of tea waste. I know – it sounds weird, right? Tea? We make a tea base for many of our ciders and so we end up with a lot of leftover natural ingredients. Think of the stuff in your used teabags, but multiply that enough to fill a tank. It turns out that tea waste makes great compost. One of our owners uses it on his land in Lowell, where he experiments and tinkers with plant varieties for potential Black Apple use.
One question we get a lot is: Can we re-use the can rings that hold our Black Apple 4-packs? That’s a great question, and we are genuinely glad you ask. Unfortunately, we can’t re-use them because they lose their gripping power and could potentially cause the next buyer to end up with Hibiscus Cider all over their shoes. But you can recycle them. If you live somewhere without recycling, you can always bring them to us and we’ll stick them in our bins.
While we’re on the can rings, we’d love to be 100% plastic free and are always searching for feasible alternatives. Our can rings use around 30% less plastic than traditional rings and are, as mentioned before, 100% recyclable.
Plastic-Free July isn’t just a month for us. It’s our year-round commitment to our business, our customers and our children. We appreciate all of you who liberally use our recycling bins at the taproom, who chuck the 4-pack holders (and our cans) in the recycling at home, and who grab a reusable bag to transport a 4-pack or two.