If you know Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, then you know Oregon Cherry Growers (OCG). They are the largest producer and processor of sweet cherries in the world and a grower-owned cooperative. They provide cherries for nearly every cherry flavored ice cream and as of recently, they are also the newest Dirt Hugger customer.
The team is serious about sustainability and serious about reducing waste. They’ve even hired a consulting group, Waste Revelation, to help analyze and reduce their waste stream, which is where we came in. OCG has two main waste streams relevant to Dirt Hugger: cherry stems and a cherry biosludge. The biosludge is a treated form of the ground up cherry skins and bodies after the production process. They land apply much of the material during the dry months, but Dirt Hugger has become a resource during the wetter months. The cherry stems previously were heading for the landfill, and are now all coming to the compost site. The net result has been landfill diversion, cost reduction for OCG and a greatly reduced shipping footprint, since we are about a mile down the road from each other. (Below is a video of their cherry stem delivery.)
OCG provides a fun story and wins from economic, social, and environmental standpoints. It’s early days, but we hope to accrue more similar stories as we grow. Thanks to Steve, Pete, Marty, Eric and the OCG Crew plus Tony from Waste Revelations.