Zero Waste London Mail

By Amandine Alexandre

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Zero Waste London Mail

March 2 · Issue #6 · View online

Join the zero waste revolution.

In a Swedish town called Eskilstuna, west of Stockholm, the recycling centre is a very special place. It doubles up as a shopping mall where everything for sale is second-hand. It’s very likely that you know this already because the BBC filmed a report there and the video went viral last year.
Last Friday, I attended a short talk given by Anna Bergstrom, Re-tuna former mall manager. The sustainability consultant explained that the idea of the mall came from a resident of Eskilstuna back in 2006. The idea was approved by the town authority in 2012 and the mall opened in 2015.
It’s the most interesting thing I’ve heard at the conference organised this year by North London Waste Authority, the North London Waste Exchange. It shows that waste can be tackled effectively if - among others - we, citizens, play our part and decision makers pay attention to our suggestions. Tackling waste as part of the climate emergency is a team work.
The founders of Cleaner Seas group are certainly doing their share of the work when it comes to microplastic pollution. The Cornwall plastic activists have just launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance the production of a revolutionary microplastic washing machine filter. It’s the most exciting crowdfunding campaign I have come across in a while.

The Interview 🌊🌊🌊
How long did it take to create the microplastic filter?  
About 18 months.
What were the main hurdles that you had to overcome?  
The premature blocking up of the filter was the main issue we encountered. This is why we developed the cartridge system.
Why is called Indikon-1? It sounds like a rocket or a spacecraft! 
It’s a bit of a long story but it’s named after our Chief Visionary Officer’s Son Indy.
You’re planning to recycle the filtered microplastic. What would you do with it? 
We’re finding the best routes forward for this. The fibres could go full closed loop and be made back into clothing or other products, we’ve also been looking at 3d printing and artwork.
You’re trying to raise £50k in a month. It’s quite a lot of money in a short period of time. Why the urge? 
The production tooling for the product is a very large initial investment to enable us to make a quality product. Also we hope to sell about 800 units which will allow us to make a full production run.
For £75, supporters can get one machine filter with one year of service. It’s quite an investment. Why does it cost so much? How much are you hoping to commercialise the machine for? 
This price includes two cartridges, plus the costs for us to recycle and post them back. The product will be a quality piece of kit with a long expected life. Also, compared to other filters on the market (which don’t have the unique selling point of Indikon-1), it’s very good value for money. 
Is there any similar product on the market already?
There are other filters available but Indikon-1 is different because:
  • It won’t block.
  • It’s closed loop.
  • We aim to catch 100% of the microfibres.
  • We will be giving a percentage of profit to support environmental community groups. 
  • Our company comes from the grassroots of the problem, so we’re about the triple bottom line - good for the environment, good for our people and good business.
Cleaner Seas group need to raise £50 000 by March 26th
Cleaner Seas group need to raise £50 000 by March 26th
To see Indikon-1 crowdfunding campaign click here.
To find out more about the team behind the microplastic filter, visit the Cleaner Seas group website here.
The Inspiration ♀
It’s an understatement to say that there are lots of incredible women at the forefront of the waste reduction movement.
I wanted to highlight 3 of them in this newsletter.
The first is Sian Sutherland, the co-founder of A plastic planet. She’s behind the Plastic free trademark that you see on some food items that you get from supermarkets. Since 2016, Sian has been working with big consumer brands to find a way out of single use plastic. She recently launched #SackTheSachet campaign. You can listen to her in this podcast. I defy not to be hugely inspired by Sian. She’s ‘the most least likely eco warrior that you would ever meet’, she says, but she’s moving mountains.
The other amazing single use plastic fighter that I wanted to salute is Welsh plastic free campaigner Ella Daish. She launched a petition 2 years ago asking industrials to make all period products plastic free. She has achieved so much in those 2 years! Ella’s determination is out of this world and she always has a smile on her face.
Last but not least, I wanted to encourage you to read an interview of Olio co-founder, Tessa Clarke, published at the start of the year by Harper’s Bazaar. Olio is an app that enables you to give away food that you’re not planning to eat. It’s extremely popular - 70 000 meals are shared thanks to Olio every month in the UK only - but being a female entrepreneur is not easy and Tessa doesn’t pretend it is.
The Events 🗣
The bags will be available at local shops in Bethnal Green so people can borrow them.
The bags will be available at local shops in Bethnal Green so people can borrow them.
Tuesday 3rd March - Borrow a Bag Sew-cial ✄
Be part of a group of volunteers making as many reusable bags as possible for the Roman Road Borrow-a-Bag scheme and reduce plastic waste in this corner of Bethnal Green in East London. The event is organised by Sunny Jar Eco hub, a social entreprise on a mission to reduce waste. Register here for free.
Where? Fugitive Motel, 199 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 0EL (Closest tube station: Bethnal Green on the Central line).
What time? 6.30pm till 9pm
Wednesday 4th March - Borrow a Bag Sew-cial ✄
If you miss tomorrow’s session but you’re available during the day, you can attend a Borrow a Bag Sew-cial at the Glasshouse, 161 Old Ford Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 9QB (south of Victoria park). Register here.
Friday 6th March - Make your own bird feeder and bird feed 🐦
Where? Camden Think & Do café, 315 Kentish Town Road, opposite Kentish Town Library, London, NW5 2TJ 
What time? From 4pm till 6pm
Saturday 7th March - Brixton Vintage Kilo Sale 👚👗👖👕
Quality, hand-picked vintage fashion by the weight…and all JUST £15 PER KILO. The organisers promise that ‘there will be plenty of sportswear, denim, coats, jackets, fur, flannel, dresses, blouses and much much more’. Free entry. No registration needed.
Where? Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, London, SW9 8PQ (closest tube station : Brixton on the Victoria line).
What time? 12pm to 6pm
The Kilo sale also regularly takes place in Peckham and Spitalfields.
The Kilo sale also regularly takes place in Peckham and Spitalfields.
Check out the Kilo sale website here.
The Experiment ☛
Have you heard about the Big Compost Experiment? If you ever wondered how compostable is the supposedly compostable packaging of your newspaper for example, this experiment is for you.
It was launched last November by academics from  UCL’s Plastic Waste Innovation Hub. They would like you to help them investigate the role and effectiveness of biodegradable and compostable packaging.
Currently more information is needed to understand how biodegradable plastics work in home composting environments to determine if their disposal at home is a viable alternative to other waste streams such as recycling or landfill.
You can take UCL’s Plastic Waste Innovation Hub composting survey here and sign up to the Big Compost Experiment.
To hear the researchers talking about the Big Compost Experiment head to Radio 4 Inside Science.
If you enjoy this newsletter and would like to show your appreciation, please head to my Ko-fi page. 🙏🏻
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