Make Pickles More Eco-Friendly


Target: William H. Bryan, President of Mt. Olive Pickle Company

Goal: Adjust pickle processing operations to prevent pickle waste from contaminating soil and groundwater

Pickles have always been popular in American cuisine, from sandwiches to burgers and relish. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans consume nine pounds of pickles per capita each year. However, the pickle industry in the United States has been facing some environmental issues in regard to brining solution disposal.

Recently, scientists at the USDA developed a method that would help pickle producers use calcium chloride instead of pickling salt. A calcium chloride solution can be disposed of in soil without causing environmental harm, as opposed to pickling salt, which is a pollutant. Researchers found that calcium chloride solutions also help pickles retain their firmness and speed up the fermentation process. Although this method utilizes a lower salt content, it only applies to processing, not to the pickle’s dietary salt value.

The largest independent pickle company in America, Mt. Olive Pickle Company in Mt. Olive, North Carolina, has already implemented this new technology. Last year, Mt. Olive Pickle Company turned 66,000 bushels of cucumbers into pickles using this eco-friendly solution. To help preserve gherkin pickles, which are imported in an acid solution from India, researchers are now modifying this technology to eliminate sulfite, an ingredient that many people are sensitive to, from the brine formula.

Sign the below petition to urge U.S. pickle manufacturers to utilize the USDA’s new technology to make the pickling process less harmful to the environment. Since pickles continue to be so popular throughout the country, it is important to replace pickling salt with calcium chloride solutions now to prevent further soil contamination from disposal.


Dear Mr. Bryan,

Wastewater that contains pickle brine from pickling vats is potentially hazardous to the environment. When disposed of, pickle brine that contains pickling salt can seep into nearby wetlands and even create breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Although pickling was once recognized as a safe way to preserve food before the discovery of bacteria, the process is not always up to today’s modern environmental safety standards.

Your company is at the forefront of emerging technology that aims to make pickles more eco-friendly. By replacing sodium chloride with calcium chloride, your company’s waste is a desirable soil amendment instead of a pollutant. By last year, Mt. Olive was using the technology in about 80 tanks to turn 66,000 bushels of calcium chloride-fermented cucumbers into pickle products.

I am urging you to continue adapting your manufacturing processes to comply with environmentally valid solutions. Please serve as an example to the rest of the pickle producers in America as you evolve your operations.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Christine via Flickr

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