Origin Kombucha runs a 100% Zero-Waste Production Facility.
What does that mean exactly? Well, personally speaking, it would be the equivalent of radically changing your daily habits so that you no longer produced any waste, removing all waste bins because there’s never anything to throw away, and never bringing your trash bin out to the curb to be collected, because there is never any trash in it. Quite literally, we have reduced waste to zero. In the place of waste, organized in 3 sections of our facility dedicated to this purpose, we have:
1. Reusable Materials:
Like we hope everyone already knows by now, our 100% recycled glass, swing-top bottles are infinitely reusable, swing-top, bottle, and waterproof label alike. The section of our facility dedicated to storing and managing our bottle return supply is large, since we are now securing over 70% of all bottles on a weekly basis. Our detail orientated team processes the bottles every week, cleaning them of any external residue and preparing them to be cleaned and sanitized by our custom-made bottle washing machine. Our delivery boxes are reused over and over again, as well, and so they are inspected and readied for the next order in this same section.
2. Upcycled Commodities:
Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value. Instead of relying on city-run recycling options which more times than not actually result in being landfill material after all, we find up cycling alternatives for the following materials: 100% of our unwanted cardboard, unusable wooden pallets, 100% of our organic by-products, and several varieties of plastic containers. Since we buy our organic ingredients, soaps, and sanitizers in bulk, we use our remaining smaller bags and containers for transporting our raw materials from storage to production space.
All of the aforementioned cardboard and wooden pallets goes to our partner homesteads and gardening spaces to become new soil, locking their carbon in the ground in the process. All such material is properly stripped of any stickers, tape, or otherwise non-biodegradable material before leaving our facility to become soil. (It is common issues like these that ensure most of what you believe your city recycles is, in fact, dumped in a landfill after all. Cardboard with tape, or a bit of dirt or organic material will be immediately deemed landfill waste.)
We at Origin believe in taking FULL responsibility for 100% of our waste and natural by-products of production, not relying on others to do so on our behave, unless we know they are being 100% responsible themselves and we provide them with the material they seek to recycle in the exact condition required for them to do so, 100% of the time.
The very last resort in our facility, and in total weight, accounting for less than 20% of all material. We painstakingly separate all recyclable material by number, ensuring all is clean of unwanted residue, tape, stickers and stickiness. We equally ensure that the material in question, in the condition it is currently in, will be accepted as recycled material at the facility it will be sent to. Our biggest accomplishment in this area is finding recycling solutions for a few materials that do not have any known solutions here in Quebec.
The one that stands out for us the most is finding a 100% recyclable source for all of our silicone-paper label backings. Take a look at any product you buy, anywhere you buy it, and chances are there is a label on it. The label is typically a sticker/adhesive that is either coloured or clear. Bottles, cans, egg cartons, deli packages, etc. In weight, across Canada, for one year, this silicone-backed paper alone accounts for 1000’s of tonnes of ‘waste’. No municipality anywhere recycles it, it is all simply thrown out.
BUT NOT OURS!! It took hours of research, multiple calls and emails, a few weeks of waiting and corresponding, but Origin Kombucha is proud to be the only company capable of recycling this material. We are partnered with a company in the United States to do so. In fact, they reuse of 50% of it, and recycle the remaining that cannot be reused.
And that’s what zero waste looks like. It is not easy, no one will do it for you. It takes time and dedication to find solutions for all of your particular needs. But in the end, our entire staff can take great pride in what we do and how we do it. It really does feel different, to work in an environment you know is not contributing an ounce to our waste problems in this provence. Better yet, has found solutions to waste problems that can and should be implemented far beyond our company itself. We are the change we wish to see in the world.
But the story is not completely finished. After all is said and done, we still had about 2% of our by-product material we could not find a solution for. And in order to truly be 100% zero-waste, as we are, you can’t stop at 98%!! That 2% was mostly used stickers, sticky residue, sullied recyclable scraps, a few pens and tiny plastic pieces off larger containers and equipment. The impossible stuff, or at least we thought at first. Until we came across Terracycle. So, after we go through all of the above processes to sort and categorize our reusable, up-cyclable, and recyclable materials, the rest goes to Terracycle.
“At TerraCycle we’ve cracked the code. We profitably recycle what most consider to be “unrecyclable.” Today, not someday in the future, pretty much everything we once considered non-recyclable waste can be collected and transformed into raw materials for the creation of new products.”
So, there you have it….100% zero waste.
No other beverage company anywhere can stand by such strict guidelines for waste management, and yet, at Origin, it does not stop there. Because there is that invisible form of waste that no one wants to acknowledge or deal with. That everyone wants to externalize the costs of, and simply ignore away. That waste, of course, is carbon dioxide, or all greenhouse gas emissions in general, although carbon is by far the most problematic and pervasive in almost every industry. We constantly do our best to reduce our carbon footprint, but that, as anyone who tries to do so can attest, is an ongoing and incrementally progressing project. So we accompany our best efforts at reducing our carbon footprint by offsetting our carbon footprint.
But offsetting, or being carbon-neutral, is not nearly enough for us at Origin, so we double our offset amounts, ensuring we are a carbon-negative company. Which means, not only do we not produce a single strap of waste at our facility, but we double our carbon offset’s yearly contribution to ensure we are carbon-negative, ensuring we are no only reversing our carbon-footprint, but helping to facilitate a greener energy sector and greener future for us all.
Therefore, when we do our weekly home deliveries of our fabulous kombucha, picking up 100% of your empty, reusable bottles in the process, we are offsetting the carbon footprint of that delivery, as well as, offsetting the carbon footprint you may have contributed to if you went to the store yourself to buy our product.
That’s Origin Pride. And buying an Origin kombucha makes you a partner in our Greener future. Thank you and enjoy!!
You probably already know that Origin Kombucha is a carbon-negative company that operates a zero-waste production facility, and makes the best darn ‘booch’ in the biz. But you may not have known that we designate a portion of two separate income streams to donate to organizations we believe in.