UK – Bridge Cheese, a prominent British cheese and dairy supplier, has embraced a pioneering approach to sustainability by implementing the reuse of personal protective equipment (PPE) in their dairy production processes.

The Shropshire-based company, established in 2017, has gained recognition for its diverse range of traditional and functional cheese products.

Traditionally, the dairy industry, including Bridge Cheese, has been discarding various forms of PPE, contributing to environmental concerns associated with landfill and incineration.

Recognizing the need for change, Bridge Cheese has undertaken a transformative initiative to reduce the environmental impact of its operations.

Michael Harte, Managing Director at Bridge Cheese, explained that the decision to reconsider PPE use and explore reuse options was prompted by the contract renewal for the company’s coat laundering service earlier this year.

“With sustainability in mind, Bridge Cheese sought alternative suppliers, ultimately leading to a partnership with Staysafe PPE,” he said.

“Staysafe PPE, a Midlands-based washing and repairing service for PPE and gloves, employs an innovative washing system using ozone to kill bacteria and remove pathogens in cold water.”

In addition, he noted that the environmentally friendly approach has enabled Bridge Cheese to clean various PPE items, ranging from lab coats to hi-vis wear, without compromising their functionality.

Harte emphasized that the collaboration with Staysafe PPE has facilitated significant changes in the company’s approach to equipment usage, reuse, and waste diversion.

“Although challenges exist, such as the delicate nature of fibers in single-use items like hair nets and beard snoods, efforts are ongoing to explore options for reusing and recycling these items in the future.”

While the specific impact on emissions reduction is yet to be measured, Bridge Cheese is committed to working with local organizations to quantify and benchmark its performance. On the cost-saving front, the company has reported savings beyond initial expectations.

By laundering and reusing PPE on a weekly basis, Bridge Cheese is reducing costs compared to continually purchasing new PPE, allowing them to maintain competitive prices for their customers.

This initiative underscores Bridge Cheese’s commitment to sustainability in an industry not traditionally associated with such practices.

The collaboration with Staysafe PPE exemplifies the potential for environmentally conscious approaches to create positive impacts, both economically and ecologically.

Bridge Cheese’s journey showcases that sustainability can be achieved through innovative thinking and a commitment to responsible business practices.