Zero Waste London Mail

By Amandine Alexandre

The revolution is on



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Zero Waste London Mail

February 24 · Issue #5 · View online

Join the zero waste revolution.

Not a day goes by these days without a major waste reduction or recycling initiative being announced in London. Sometimes, it’s a business entreprise ; other times, it’s a scheme spearheaded by a public organisation or a charity. Very often, it’s a joint initiative like the one inaugurated in Brixton (see the News section).
Back in 2015, when I started developing a serious interest in waste reduction, it felt like this day would never come. While the zero waste movement was fast developing in France where I am from, on this side of the channel, it was barely mentioned - if at all - in the mainstream media.
I know that there is a long way to go still but I really think that the waste reduction movement is gathering pace at an incredible speed now in London and across the UK. This is down to every single activist gearing up into action both in their local area and on social media. Never underestimate your power! 🙌 🙌 🙌
The Party Kit network, created by Isabel Mack last July, is one of the most inspiring initiatives I have come across recently. It’s everything a zero waste initiative should be - practical, economical and joyful. I believe the potential of the Party Kit network in reducing waste is phenomenal.

The Interview 🙅
Isabel Mack is the founder of Party Kit Network. She very quickly established a thriving network of Party kits owners across the UK and she’s hoping to take her waste reduction entreprise even further.
When did you create Party Kit network ?
I created it in June last year after reading a blog post by sustainability writer Jen Gale about a party kit in Frome (Somerset).
How quickly has the network grown?
It took 4 days to find the first 20 kits - a mixture of searching on Facebook and posting in zero waste / plastic-free groups. Since then, most people have found me rather than the other way around. I have just over 350 kits listed now. I’ve added 100 since Christmas. 
How much does it cost to put a party kit together for 30 people? 
A basic kit for 30 can be set up for £35 (based on IKEA plates, cups, bowls, 2 jugs from supermarket and a storage box) but it can be done for less if sourcing items secondhand. However, this takes time. 
How much do party kit owners charge per rental?
All kits are run independently so content and prices of kit vary. Some kits are lent for free. Others range from 25-50p per person depending on service (for example if washing up is included) and the amount of equipment. Many include bunting and other reusable decorations, but also platters, pass-the-parcel bags and more.
What’s the profile of party kit owners? 
Almost all the kits are run by women, mostly mums. Many are run from home by mums passionate about reducing waste. Some are run from zero waste stores, by school Parents and Teachers Associations as a fundraiser, or by small party-related businesses.
Do you have any anecdotal evidence that party kit users are more likely to reduce their waste as a result of borrowing a party kit?
We definitely have a much bigger following within the community of people already working to reduce waste, but do have growing interest from people just getting started. We hope that by making this one change easy and more accessible that more people will look to make more sustainable choices in other parts of their lives. 
The average party with a party kit saves between 60-100 single-use items from landfill.
 What’s the amount of carbon emissions that Party kit network has saved since its start?
This is very difficult to calculate. Just finding out about the carbon footprint and water usage for a single paper plate has been very difficult - there are so many variables. This is why I have chosen to focus on the message of reducing waste to landfill as this is a more measurable goal. The average party with a party kit saves between 60-100 single-use items from landfill. So on one day, if each of the 350 kits were hired for a party that would be over 21,000 items saved from landfill. That is a very conservative estimate and doesn’t take into account cutlery or decorations for example. 
What’s your vision for Party kits network for the next year or so? 
I want to secure funding for the network so I can increase the functionality of the website to make it easier for people to book their local kit and for kit owners to manage their bookings. But I’d also like to be able to offer grants to those setting up or expanding kits, as well as working to further spread the message about switching to reusables at parties. 
From 20 kits to 350 in 6 months.
From 20 kits to 350 in 6 months.
The News⚡️
According to Brixton blog, a project to recycle 150,000 takeaway coffee from Brixton each year launches today.
The blog informs us that ‘15 local independent coffee shops will be home to brightly coloured recycling bins for the paper cups which cannot go into regular paper recycling bins because of their plastic lining.
Brixton’s Business Improvement District (BID) is running one of 12 schemes across the country selected to receive grants of between £50,000 and £100,000 from the Cup Fund, established by the environmental charity Hubbub and funded by Starbucks from the 5p charge it introduced on paper cups in 2018.
Brixton will be the first town centre in Lambeth to introduce a coffee cup recycling scheme. The Business Improvement District is running the scheme in partnership with First Mile recycling and Lambeth council.
All cups collected by the funded projects will be recycled in the UK into new products including paper bags and greetings cards. These products will be manufactured locally to reduce travel and some of them will go back to locations where the cups were collected.’
The environmental charity Hubbub, behind new coffee cup recycling facilities in London, realise that ‘ultimately we need to cut the number of single use cups used in the first instance and to clean-up those that are being littered’. Their ambition is to increase the take-up of reusable cups to 10%
The Events ♻️
Sustainable caterer Elysia are organising their first supper club on Friday 20th March from 6.30 pm till 9.30pm in Bermondsey. Enjoy a talk from Cindy Zurias, head baker at Little Bread Pedlar and food waste tips between delicious courses. There are still a few tickets available here.
I’ve mentioned it already last week but it’s worth reminding that Think & Do Café in Camden has reopened. It is run by Kentish Town Veg Box and aims to be an ethical and affordable community hub. Their soup of the day is made from surplus organic veg from farms around London and tea is free!
Address : 315 Kentish Town Road, a few meters away from Kentish Town station (Northern Line).
Opening hours : from 10am till 6pm during the week and from 10am till 5pm on Saturdays.
Jobs 💰
The Library of Things are recruiting a London project Lead to expand across London. It looks like a very, very interesting job - the kind of jobs that gives you the possibility to significantly reduce waste and carbon emissions in the capital. Salary is £37,500 pro rata. Deadline is Thursday 12th March 2020 6pm. Read the job description here.
Food rescuers and B Corp certified business Too good to go are recruiting for 5 different positions in London. Click here to read the job descriptions.
Also, Elysia are recruiting a part-time business developer assistant.
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