Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Belper Businesses Target ‘Zero Waste’ in New Initiative

Businesses in Belper have been working together to reduce the amount of waste they produce as part of a new ‘Zero Waste’ initiative.

On the evening of the 29th of June, Belper business owners and interested parties, gathered at Number 28 on the Market place to workshop ideas and share their experiences around waste reduction.

Hosted by founding members of the Zero Waste Group; Amina Burslem, Mary Dwyer and Zoe Hughes greeted local businesses and explained to those present more about how the initiative came about. During the evening well-known ethical business leaders in Belper such as Earth Harmony, Plantitude, Vegan Revelation, Cheeky Bambini and Love Belper shared their best practices on sustainability. Entertaining and informative also talks also came from Cllr Dave Wells, who initiated “Plastic Free Duffield” and Rachelle Willshaw, an ecology lecturer from Derby College, who spoke about the hazards of plastics and waste.

The Zero Waste Group was formed as a result of Transition Belper’s ‘Community Conversation’ event, which was held in October 2021. After consultation with a number of shop owners, the group found there was scope to help local business’ reduce their environmental impact.

Initiatives to achieve Zero Waste include reducing the amount of harmful plastics being sold, exchanging plastic goods for environmentally friendly alternatives, sharing resources and reducing costs wherever possible through partnership.

Asking Tough Questions

Results from a recent consumer survey taken by the Zero Waste group about shopping habits, preferences regarding packaging and recycling were shared during the event at No.28.

The results showed that the amount of plastic and packaging was a big concern for customers and this affected where and how people were likely to shop. It showed that there is a need for businesses to change and become more environmentally friendly and to publicise this.

Rewarding Success

The Zero Waste group are intending to launch a ‘Sustainable Business Award Scheme’ in Belper over the next year. The awards will recognise businesses who have made progress towards reducing their impact upon the environment.

Details are still to be confirmed, however the Zero Waste group are pleased to announce that Belper School students will be helping us with the award designs.

Amina Burslem, one of the founding members of the Zero Waste Group, commented:

“Our aims, as the name suggests, are to stop the terrible amounts of waste, rubbish and litter we see in the neighbourhood, that has such a negative impact on wildlife, the environment and on ourselves. We wanted to help initiate a more circular economy within the town where one business’ waste could be another’s treasure.

“It was interesting to hear about the journeys taken by some of Belper’s businesses and we were grateful for their advice, support and positivity in demonstrating that being “green” and ethical does make good business sense. We would like to thank everyone who attended the event, and in particular all the businesses who are already on the journey towards Zero Waste.

“We want to welcome as many businesses as possible to join in on the journey and self-nominate for the award scheme when it launches. A special mention goes to Gez Kinsella, at Derbyshire County Council, who has helped with funding the Zero Waste Groups activities.”

A follow-up meeting has been confirmed for later this year, where the ‘Zero Waste’ group will go into more depth on the award scheme.

If you would like to be involved or to learn more then please contact the group here: zerowaste@transitionbelper.org