How we send out great cheese and manage our environmental impact
Posted at 11:00 • 30 September 2019 • Richard Simpson
Whilst we are official cheese heads here at Geek HQ, coming in a close second is our drive to minimise our environmental impact. We have big plans to grow and grow which ultimately means more and more boxes heading out across the land - from the outset, we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that this packaging is sustainably sourced, easily recyclable, reusable and biodegradable. Get it right now and we’ll be able to stay in control of our footprint in the future.
Rather than keep this knowledge to ourselves, we wanted to share some of these credentials. We make no apology for getting Geeky...it’s in our nature!
Using biodegradable wool to naturally insulate cheese
It’s funny. Say wool and you naturally think of jumpers. Maybe blankets. Or woolly sheep. Using wool to keep things cool doesn’t naturally spring to mind. Our partners at Woolcool are genuinely changing the face of the insulation industry by using 100% pure wool for temperature control. Be it for food or pharmaceuticals, wool insulation has a bunch of benefits:
- Wool is available in abundance as a by-product of rearing sheep. The wool that’s best for insulation (the more coarse varieties) is actually considered waste as it’s too coarse for clothing or fabrics. These varieties account for 75% of the wool produced in Britain. So wool that would be waste is keeping your cheese chilled!
- Wool is the natural alternative to man made (energy hungry) insulation such as polystyrene or polyethylene. It’s sustainable, biodegradable and can be reused in a tonne of different ways from stopping outdoor taps from freezing to protecting plants from frost or stuffing cushions.
- Wool is one clever cookie, even earning the title: Nature’s Smart Fibre. Why so? Get ready for a science lesson: Wool fibres have an incredibly effective hygroscopic ability to absorb moisture (they can hold 35% of their own weight in moisture!) without becoming damp - this reduces humidity and helps maintain stable temperatures (either cool or hot). It doesn’t stop there. Their overlapping cell structure traps air and prevents its movement giving insulative values comparable to that of still air. All this means wool actually outperforms something like polystyrene when it comes to temperature control meaning we can use less ice packs.
- Wool has been proven to absorb smells! Now whilst we’re quite happy to have whiff of even the pongiest Bigod, it’s not to everyone’s liking...so this is a nice side benefit!
Other uses for wool liners:
- Stop outdoor taps freezing
- Protect fruit trees and plants from frost
- Draught excluders
- Loft insulation
- Pipe lagging
- Garden kneeling pad
- Feeding roses
- Hanging baskets
- Pet baskets
- Cushion stuffing
- Keep picnics cool
- Keep takeaways warm
- Donate to animal shelters
Send back your wool liners free of charge so they can be reused
If you’re cushioned out and your pipes are all protected, we’ve also teamed up with Woolcool to offer customers the chance to take part in their Circular Economy Scheme. Rather than recycle, it’s an opportunity for your wool to be reused. Follow the steps below and your liners will make it back to Woolcool where they are inspected, cleaned and processed to ensure they are food and pharma safe. Ready for reuse!
- Collect together a minimum of six wool liners (you’ll get two in each delivery from us so after only 3 deliveries, you'll be good to go)
- Repack the liners in to the Cheese Geek box you received
- Apply the Collect+ shipping label you received in your delivery
- Drop the box off at one of 7000 Collect+ pick up locations
For more info from the horse’s (or sheep’s) mouth, check out www.woolcool.com/pioneers/
What about the rest of our packaging and products?
cardboard delivery boxes
- Our cardboard delivery boxes are produced using 100% recycled material and are recyclable at local authority waste depots
- Our cheese paper is derived from sustainable sources, carries accreditation from the Forestry Stewardship Council standard, and is made from virgin pulp making it suitable and approved for contact with foodstuffs. Our cheese paper is also biodegradable!
- Our shredded paper void filler is both recycled, recyclable and biodegradable, and in addition carries ISO, FSC and PEFC supplier certifications.
beeswax cheese wrap
- In the unlikely event that you have cheese leftover from one of our selections, we’ve worked with Natural Wraps to create 5 snazzy Beeswax Cheese Wraps (say that in a hurry). They are a great, eco friendly alternative to clingfilm being made from pure cotton coated with pine resin, coconut oil and beeswax. After a quick wipe with cold soapy water, they can be used again and again, and will keep your cheese in tip top shape. After a year’s use they can be composted or cut in to strips and used as fire lighters. Like magic they are gone!