bStudio Update – Garage Project
Oct 15 2020

At Garage Project we are deeply committed to functioning as an environmentally and socially  sustainable business.

We were pretty upset to hear a news article by RNZ this morning about companies in Napier breaching their trade waste agreements with Napier council. The article has been updated several times today, but initially named Garage Project as one of the companies discharging pollutants. 

The article has since been changed, clarifying that bStudio was one of the offending companies. bStudio is a facility in the Hawke’s Bay that Garage Project and a number of other New Zealand breweries use to brew beer.

We are a customer of bStudio but we have worked very closely with them since they set up, and like all our suppliers and contractors we take a keen interest in how they conduct themselves - not just in the quality of their product and services but also their environmental and social performance.

We were obviously deeply concerned when this came to our attention today and were immediately in contact with bStudio to find out what has happened. 

After looking into the situation we do feel like the article on RNZ is somewhat misleading. 

bStudio has NOT been discharging pollutants into Napier’s waterways or discharging heavy metals or dangerous environmental pollutants. 

Like all breweries in New Zealand, bStudio has a contract with their local council to discharge water and waste to the sewer. Just like the poo you flush down your toilet at home, the biological waste breweries produce (mostly yeast and hops) needs to be treated at the council’s waste treatment facility. This treatment is measured as BOD (biochemical oxygen demand). As part of their trade waste contract with council, businesses pay a fee based on the BOD level in their waste. 

Due to increasing production levels, bStudio have historically exceeded the BOD levels set down in their trade waste agreement. We understand they have now installed new treatment and storage vessels and are working with Napier Council to fix the issue - and we will be working closely with them to ensure that this happens.

This article does however draw attention to a very serious issue that we all face. There was a time when New Zealand could boast having some of the purest water in the world, but this increasingly is not the case. Pollution from agriculture and industry as well as the degradation of land around our rivers has led to an alarming decrease in the quality of our water. We all like to think of New Zealand as one of the purest places on earth, but unless we do something about this issue it simply will not be the case. 

However, there are people working hard to try to improve the situation. The Million Metres stream project is working to restore local waterways around the country. We’ve been working with the Million Metres team for 3 years now, and, perhaps ironically, are about to release our Dirty Water project that will help to directly fund their water restoration projects.

It’s also worth pointing out that those who brought details of these trade waste breaches in Napier to the attention of RNZ are also trying to raise awareness of this issue. Having our name associated with this has made our day a bit shit, but hopefully it will help to make things better in the long run. Good on you.

- Pete


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