Milk from cows reared on the green, green grass of North Wales just got even greener as a leading dairy bagged a top environmental accolade.

Pwllheli-based South Caernarfon Creameries has achieved Level Three on the Welsh Green Dragon standard after a year of impressive improvement in its campaign to reduce its carbon footprint.

That has seen the award-winning company achieve major reductions in its use of electricity, water and oil as well as cutting waste and ensuring that much of the waste that is produced is turned into energy.

Company Secretary Elwyn Jones has headed up SCC’s drive to save the planet by every means possible from buying new, more energy efficient lorries for its milk tanker fleet to reducing the amount of cheese that hits the floor during production and packaging.

He said: “We decided a few years ago that as a Welsh company we needed to buy into the Green Dragon standards and improve our environmental standards.

“We operate in one of the most beautiful parts of the country in an industry that is based on dairy farming and what could be more natural than cows turning grass into milk.

“At the same time making high quality cheese in commercial qualities and to high standards uses lots of resources in terms of power and water.

“We have to maintain a constant temperature of 9C for maturing the cheese, we have to refrigerate for storage and we have to heat water for cleaning.

“We are a big and complex company and we have to look at energy use, electricity and water and how we can use less of them at a time when we are expanding.”

The scale of SCC’s operation, which currently produces over 10,000 tons of cheese a year, is shown in the numbers it involves – over six million kilowatt hours of electricity, almost 150 million litres of milk, 1.5 million litres of boiler oil and 170,000 tons of water, enough to fill 68 Olympic swimming pools.

In the past 12 months they have managed cuts of almost seven per cent in electricity, nine per cent in boiler oil and 8.5 per cent in water and are 13 per cent ahead of their targets for energy reduction.

Among their energy reduction measures this year has been to spend £600,000 on four brand-new DAF trucks which have seven per cent lower emissions, a big reduction with their 13-vehicle fleet averaging over 1,000 miles a week.

Elwyn Jones added: “We’re not resting on our laurels now that we’ve reached Level Three on the Green Dragon scale.

“We are now committed to achieving Level Four in 2021 and the top level of Five is our ultimate aim while at the same time growing the business and providing more local employment as well as a market for our farmer members.”

South Caernarfon Creameries was founded in 1938 with an initial 63 producer-members and has now grown to be Wales’s premier dairy company supplying its cheese and butter to the UK’s major supermarkets as well as to international markets.

Last year its products, led by its popular Dragon Cheese brand, won over 80 awards, including 20 golds, at some of the UK’s most prestigious food and agricultural shows and represented Wales at the Salon du Fromage in Paris.

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