Today (22 April) is Earth Day and here at Sacrewell we’ve made a pledge to do little things on our own piece of Earth to help create big changes worldwide…
Green has always been a colour we associate with Sacrewell, so the team thought it was time the business started to live up to its reputation.
Over the last few months, staff and volunteers at the heritage farm centre near Wansford have made some important changes behind the scenes, to ensure they’re doing all they can to help reduce their carbon footprint and to preserve the planet-right down to the paper they print on.
It all boosts the key messages that Sacrewell is promoting by creating electricity through its hydroelectric waterwheel as part of the £1.8m Heritage Lottery Fund supported watermill project.
“The mill project really made us think about ways we’re using energy,” explains General Manager Debbie Queen.
“Sacrewell was always ahead of the game when it came to innovative farming under the careful watch of William Scott Abbott, so we thought it was time we brought forward his legacy.”
At the beginning of April, Sacrewell entered into a new waste disposal contract with Peterborough based firm Viridor, which promises to reuse or recycle 99 per cent of the rubbish it collects.
The items that can’t be recycled they make into a resource, creating high-quality compost from food waste and electricity from rubbish that would normally go to landfill.
Sacrewell’s Business Support Manager Anna Mackman has headed the project and says when she started to research a new approach, she was surprised by what she found.
“I was shocked to discover that some companies still ship waste abroad for disposal and how quick they are to send litres of waste to landfill if they found one item in there that can’t be recycled.
“Thankfully, we found a contractor who is as passionate about the environment as we are. When we met with Viridor, we were so impressed with their pro-active attitude towards transforming waste into recycled materials and renewable energy that we couldn’t wait to start working with them.”
Sacrewell is working hard to ensure the new approach is something their visitors can join in with too. Volunteer John Oliver is building new double bins, with space for recycling and for general waste. And as Viridor has an energy recovery centre for general waste in Fengate, Peterborough, it won’t have to travel far to be recycled into electricity.
Elsewhere on site, the office staff have changed the way they work as well to ensure they’re doing the best they can to assist the charities’ environmental aims.
Working with Lyreco for office supplies they have changed to using recycled paper and everyday items such as wristbands for campers are now 100 per cent recyclable. They’ve also got a new printer from Walters in Peterborough which is manufactured by Konica Minolta and is one of the most energy efficient models available.
Anna said: “Our main stationery supplier offers a full range of sustainable products and are themselves committed to reducing their carbon footprint, keeping packaging and transportation to a minimum and have achieved a 96 per cent recycling rate.”
The final big move by the visitor centre has been in the gift shop. Sacrewell is now working with VegWare to supply compostable bags and Origin8 at Sacrewell café have also stocked their compostable cutlery, plates and cups.
Even the animals are doing their bit. Their new food pots from VegWare are also compostable, meaning that they can be reused to grow the nutritious grass nuts they are filled with.
Debbie added: “I’m really proud of the work Anna and the team have done to exceed our environmental aims and make Sacrewell a greener place to work and visit.”