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Go Green - Case Study - Cheese Cellar

energy efficiency measures save food firm £650 in one quarter

Cheese Cellar is a wholesaler and processor of cheese products and specialist foods based in Wandsworth, and the environmental initiatives were undertaken in two of its units on Stewart’s Road. The company had been looking different ways it could improve its environmental performance before working with Go Green Plus.

Recycling, energy efficiency, transport plan and green procurement. There’s not much that Cheese Cellar doesn’t do when it comes to environmental initiatives. Since signing up to Go Green Plus programme the business has put together a wide ranging Green Action Plan, with the help of a Go Green Plus Adviser from MCC Business Solutions.

Carlos Herrera, facilities and H&S manager at Cheese Cellar, said: “It’s been a very easy programme to follow and we’ve received a lot of support and advice to pursue environmental initiatives further.”

The lighting system is the main focus for improving energy efficiency with a programme to replace high wattage lighting with energy efficient ones being implemented over a year. Sensors and timers are being introduced in corridors and areas which people only occupy at limited times and the IT equipment is put into standby mode when not in use.

The plant and machinery in the production room have set timers, reducing the running time from 24/7 to 12 hours a day Monday to Friday. This has resulted in saving 60% energy. A system that recycles hot water used in radiators and transfers it to the hot water system has been implemented to also reduce fuel consumption.

Over a three month period all these energy saving actions reduced the energy bill at the two units by just over £650, with an 8% drop in overall energy consumption. These measures also resulted in a £55 reduction for the Climate Change Levy.

The company transports a lot of produce around the capital and currently has one electric and three LPG vans. It is reviewing new gas powered vans to reduce CO2 emissions further. Travel routes on deliveries are continually updated to ensure the most efficient routes are used, avoiding repeated journeys and the purchasing department is in the process of minimising deliveries.

Working with FoodCycle, Cheese Cellar reduces and recovers food waste on a weekly basis. A list is sent to FoodCycle every seven days and the chosen food is sent to them each Thursday. FoodCycle is a registered charity that works with young volunteers using surplus food from the community to create nutritious meals in free kitchen space.

A recycling scheme for paper, plastic and cardboard has been implemented in the offices by replacing all individual bins with one large recycling bin per office. The scheme has been received positively by the staff and there are plans to improve it. The cardboard and plastic collected is put into a compactor before collection and 6-8 tonnes are collected each month. But it’s not stopping there as the company is looking to expand into recycling batteries and wood and send its old IT equipment to a charity for reuse.

Carlos has put up signs to encourage staff to recycle and suggest other environmental ideas. “They’re becoming more aware and keen to be green,” he said.

A green procurement policy exists across the company where new machinery is evaluated for energy consumption before purchases are made and recycled stationery and eco-friendly cleaning products are used.

Carlos Herrera added there have been a number of benefits by implementing the green action plan. “We’re helping the environment and staff are more conscious of what they are doing to be greener,” he said.

Go Green Plus is run by MCC Business Solutions and a partnership of six South London local authorities – Kingston, Lambeth, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth. The wide-ranging support programme is open to small and medium sized businesses (1-250 employees) and offers 12 hours of free advice and support to encourage businesses to take action on waste and energy, water and/or CO2 reduction by reducing, reusing and recycling. Go Green Plus is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.