Sustainability + Food Rescue
Do good, drink better
Alligator Labs might look like a distillery, but our mission is food rescue. It's an essential part of our broader mission to run a business that's environmentally and financially sustainable. Here are some of our initiatives:
Supermarkets want fruit that's aesthetically perfect and uniform in size. We want the ugly ones.
We visit commercial growers and purchase their seconds and rejects. For instance, plums with peck-marked skins (sold to wholesale, rejected by retail), peaches with split pits (unsellable in stores), and oddly sized strawberries. This diverts commercial product from landfill.
We purchase home-grown fruit from friends, neighbours, and strangers who have an over-abundance. This prevents waste, reduces pests (since fruit is not rotting on the ground), and provides supplemental income.
We donate 2% of our revenue to Foodbank WA. One dollar can provide two meals.
The majority of our electricity use comes from running the still. The still and the chiller that cools our condenser water both use significant energy.
Our still and our chilled water tank are both insulated, which reduces the amount of energy used to keep them at temperature.
Thanks to the federal government, we received an energy efficiency grant in 2022. This allowed us to upgrade the chiller to a more energy efficient model. Producing in line with the seasons makes this even more efficient, as it takes less energy to cool water during Winter than Summer.
We've installed permanent copper plumbing, which allows passive heat loss and reduces the cooling load.
We're actively monitoring energy use on a kWh-per-bottle basis and working to optimise the use of our water chiller for maximum energy efficiency. On a relatively minor note, we've replaced our warehouse lights with LED.
Our condenser water is a continuous loop, chilled and reused between batches.
When the water is changed we retain the old water and use it on gardens. Similarly with our stillage. Instead of putting it down the drain (as most distilleries do), we collect it for re-use on the garden.
Waste, Reuse, and Recycling
We collect six different kinds of material before considering landfill: FOGO (organics for composting), containers for change (bottles and cans for recycling), 'tricky things' (batteries, plastic lids), soft plastic (vale, Redcycle), and general recycling (paper, cardboard, etc).
Our policy is to offer resources for re-use before recycling them. For instance, our bottles have been reimagined by customers to create planters, jewellery, and to hold their own home-made drinks. Cardboard from our palletised bottles is re-used as packaging material, or for art and craft, composting, etc.
As a result, the distillery doesn't have a landfill 'red bin'. The waste produced is small enough in volume to take home to our domestic bin.