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We’re all being encouraged to be more environmentally aware. Re-thinking what we buy and how we get rid of it, cutting out packaging, reusing and repairing things. In Liverpool, businesses are changing the way they work and the way they sell their products to customers.
Earlier this year, the news that the River Mersey contains more plastic pollution than the most plastic-polluted waters on earth came as a shock. Researchers collected 942 microplastic pieces by sampling the water surface at two different sites along the River Mersey. The results equated to 2 million pieces of microplastic per square kilometre, more than double than found at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Little World Market, which opened on Dunnings Bridge Road in Bootle in January, is a zero plastic concept shop where customers can bring along their own reusable containers to stock up on loose organic dried foods, spices and liquids.
LIV Organic on Bold Street is home to the city centre’s largest packaging-free section, all food-to-go packaging is either recyclable, biodegradable, compostable or reusable, and shoppers are offered compostable or plant-based alternatives to plastic bags.
Family-run Moretons Dairies, based in Maghull, is encouraging everyone to ‘help save the planet, one pint at a time!’ by signing up for deliveries of milk in recyclable environmentally-friendly glass bottles instead of plastic ones. It’s even offering a free pint of milk to customers in Liverpool, Wirral and Chester to celebrate #zerowasteweek.
The team at Maray restaurant has come up with Zero Waste Week initiatives at its three sites at Royal Albert Dock, Allerton Road and Bold Street which include staff cycling in to work and the banning of blue paper roll in kitchens.
Head chefs are also reusing ingredients which would otherwise have been wasted to create special dishes for the week. The first one, chilli lime croquettes, makes use of seabass and salmon belly, which is usually filleted then thrown away. It’s now been pickled down and mixed with chilli rose harissa, lime juice and zest, red chilli and garlic. They’re also doing a salmon-skin taco too.
Over at BrewDog on Colquitt Street, bartenders have come up with a new #zerowasteweek idea to reuse limes from drinks, boiling them down into a syrup to create lime cordial. Cardboard straws are used instead of plastic and coasters are all made from recycled card.
And at Jenny’s bar on Fenwick Street they’ve gone one step further with straws, not just banning the plastic version but introducing edible ones which taste of lemon and lime, or candy.
Windmill Wholefoods on Aigburth Road is one city-based business which is always focused on green issues so it’s a keen supporter of Zero Waste Week.
Rachel Johnson, who manages the co-operative, says they have been promoting green living since they launched back in 1991 on Smithdown Road, selling packaging-free organic fruit and veg and offering refills for household products like washing up liquid and laundry liquid.
“We not only had organic produce when nowhere else did, we even had things like a can crusher in the shop so people could bring their cans in to be recycled,” she says.
Now customers choose Windmill for a combination of reasons – there’s the variety, the taste, the freshness and also the fact it’s in the heart of Aigburth so they can take the no-emissions option of walking instead of using the car.
“We’re in the community so we fit in with people’s lives, we’re on a high street in easy walking distance for a lot of people which is important,” says Rachel. “None of us can do everything, but lots of people can make small changes and they all add up. If everyone says ‘this isn’t good enough’ then there has to be change.”
Inside Windmill, forming part of an ethical mini-supermarket alongside a healthy eating salad bar, Melanie Sharp runs Refill – a wall full of loose packaging-free wholefoods like oats, muesli, rice, lentils, cous cous, seeds and dried fruits.
Melanie, who came to Liverpool to study in 2004, started researching Refill seven years ago when she noticed that living on a shopping budget meant her recycling bin was often overflowing.
With an interest in sustainability, she began researching the zerowaste movement across Europe and in London and, with the rise in environmental awareness, she decided the time was right to put her own passion into practice.
“We owe it to future generations to make any effort we can, to act on this problem sooner than unrealistic government targets have set out,” she says. “It is down to us as individuals to make these changes start to happen and we’re here to help people do that by offering package-free solutions for the home.”
In Crosby, sustainable living store McCormacks has just launched, rebranding from gift and homeware specialists Tilly Mint.
Owner Alison Hulse says: “We have always tried to source from local artists, and we wanted to take that a step further. We also felt that customers wanted to be able to give a gift that was a bit different and meant more to the recipient. This is when we started thinking about “gifts with a conscience” – gifts that give back.
“Much of what we now stock gives back to charity or to local communities in some way. For example, our bamboo toothbrushes support the Humble Smile Foundation and we are waiting on a new collection of silver jewellery which helps to save the bees!
“There is definitely a passion for this type of shop and I think it will grow as more people are trying to change their habits. It’s not about a few of us doing zero waste perfectly, it’s about all of us doing it imperfectly.”
1 – Live by the 5 Rs – refuse reduce reuse recycle rot
2 – Shop local – support your local traders and makers
3 – Make your own, repair what you’ve got, and share and swap with friends
4 – Take your own reusable water bottle, cup, lunchbox, cutlery and straw with you on the go
5 – Help spread the word in your local community by asking local retailers if they can try to phase out single use plastics
Written & researched by Copy Media.
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