Glasgow is slowly but surely joining the zero waste and plastic free movement, we want to get this movement going quicker due to the scale of the plastic crisis happening around the world, after all, if consumers can't access plastic free food and products to reduce their landfill contributions, how can we reduce our plastic waste?
Thankfully the plastic crisis has been highlighted by the media a lot recently and Scotland is talking more of a circular economy system, in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimised by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops. Society Zero CIC, our social enterprise wants to contribute to this circular economy as much as we can, which is why our founder and director Sophie is working in partnership with Circular Glasgow to provide talks and workshops through their programmes.
By 2050, it’s estimated there will be more plastic than fish, in our world ocean. Currently, 8 million tonnes of plastics are dumped into landfills, fields, the sea and woodlands around the world EVERY YEAR - and that is set to double, everyone appears to be fed up of the problem, so we want to help Glasgow do it's bit and protect our part of the world from plastic by giving an alternative while also supporting our social aims and customer demands.
The reason zero waste is more important than recycling is because we don't have the infrastructure to keep up the demand of plastic waste (if it can even be recycled in the first place) so much so it's being sent overseas and ending up in landfill. We do encourage recycling at every point you can but refusing and reducing that waste is the most important in the pyramid of waste and that's why we want to bring Society Zero CIC to reality.
In case you haven't heard what a Community Interest Company (CIC) is, it's a company formed like other limited companies but with an asset lock meaning if anything goes wrong and we had to dissolve the company and stop trading - our assets would go to similar community interest companies meaning it all gets moved into other areas rather than going to 'waste'.
It also means, we are not for profit. While a CIC isn't a charity, it is similar to that we cannot have shareholders making a quick buck but it also means we cannot we pay ourselves to get 'rich' and we are regulated by the Community Interest Company Regulator.
With Society Zero, we will not have a few directors at the top making big bucks and taking the profit while other staff get very little. We promise to keep wages fair, pay a living wage to our staff, and in proportion to the responsibility of the roles. As any profit comes into the company, it will be redistributed into meeting our aims as a social enterprise.
We want to provide as many locally sourced products and produce as possible, while supporting other social enterprises (where possible) who produce these products for example:
- Wild and Kind Studio CIC in Glasgow, will be providing our merchandising. From our bags, produce bags, tablecloths for our market stall and even our t-shirts that we will be wearing at our market stall.
- Trade Right International CIC in Greenock, will be providing Carishea soaps for our market stall alongside Willow and Plum and other Scottish and British made soaps.
- Lilah Pads in Aberdeen, Bloom and Nora in Glasgow and Hey Girls CIC from East Lothian will be providing our sanitary wear
- Our reusable water bottles will be provided by Jerry Bottle and Give Me Tap both supporting clean water projects around the world.
- Our amazing plastic free chocolate will be provided by a fantastic ethical company in Cambuslang.
These are just a few examples of stockists who we will be supporting.
From our end, we want to support not only the zero waste movement in Glasgow and reducing our environmental impact, but also care experienced young people and, marginalised and disadvantaged communities with personalised support, along with the general public through events and workshops.
Through fundraising and eventual profits when we get to shopfront/premises stage, we will be providing employment experience and opportunities for the aforementioned groups of people while paying the real living wage no matter what age they are.
We also want to provide 'zero waste kits' for the rehoused homeless, care experienced young people going into their own homes, women's shelters (in partnership with Ruby Rebellion CIC) and other groups of people who don't have many or anything of their own and therefore (generally) have to rely on single use plastic and environmentally unfriendly products. These kits could include:
- Bamboo toothbrushes
- Menstrual Cups and Cloth Sanitary Pads to reduce period poverty
- Stainless steel reusable water bottles to refill wherever possible
- Reusable coffee cup
- Stainless steel lunch boxes
- Bamboo Cutlery, Wrap, Napkin and stainless steel or bamboo straw
- Produce bags and tote bags
- Backpack to carry these items
These are just some of the ideas and aims we have as a Community Interest Company and something we are wanting to do in the future when we are able to financially.
Young Enterprise Scotland has organised for Society Zero CIC to host a market stall alongside the popular 'Art on Scotland' market in Royal Exchange Square on the 25th and 26th August 2018, and we have no means to stock our stall to meet the expected crowds and demand.
We had thought that we would be able to secure funding from social enterprise funding resources but the problem for us now, is that all applications have been postponed until their next panel meeting. We have also been asked by these sources to provide results from our market stall to make our case stronger for funding, so we need your help.
We have exhausted all other possible routes we can, meaning we have only managed to procure a micro-finance loan of £1000 but this unfortunately doesn't meet the full costs of us setting up this full weekender market stall with everything else it entails. Update: This microfinance loan is now on hold due to lack of funding to the lending company so we are now focused solely on meeting our all or nothing target
To get our message and enterprise out there, we want to take this fantastic opportunity in a prime location and market Society Zero CIC for our future endeavours, to meet our growing online support in person and most importantly provide zero waste products to the people of Glasgow, and we would like your support.
Your kind donations will fund stock and more that you would find in our zero waste kits including products from the socially and ethically responsible businesses we support.
Examples of what we will be stocking following our survey:
Straws - Bamboo and Steel with brush cleaners
Tote Bags and Produce Bags
Bamboo Cutlery and Wraps
Stainless Steel Lunchboxes
Paper Cotton Buds
Soaps and Bamboo Soap Dishes
Cloth Makeup Rounds
Safety Razor Kits
Stainless Steel Water Bottles
Cloth Sanitary Pads
Small selection of loose snack foods and plastic free chocolate
We would love to stock a wide variety and expand our food range at a later stage depending on funding and risk of perishables. If you have any other suggestions of what you'd like to see - let us know by messaging us through our social media sites or email Sophie at email@example.com
Along with the running costs of the market stall including insurance, stock storage, containers, transport and other essentials for trading, we have calculated the cost to be just over £2500 Update: Due to microfinance loan unavailable just now we will have to scale this back further but do our best to provide you with as varied a stock as possible.
We have set our target at £1500. We are charged 8% (£120 of £1,500 will go to crowdfunder.co.uk) of what we raise through our Crowdfunder and we have a small target to reach for all or nothing so every donation made is crucial to our start up.
We had an overwhelming welcoming and enthusiastic response to our idea and aims through our market research in which we surveyed through social media sites in groups and through word of mouth, and also with the public in different areas of Glasgow. (Through our research we were also asked to support local so we are meeting this as much as possible too). We've received a lot of emails and messages too from so many lovely people wanting to help us by volunteering to help get Society Zero CIC into action too which we are very thankful for.
Society Zero CIC have also had a fantastic reception from; Circular Glasgow, the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Glasgow City Council councillors, Glasgow local MPs and MSPs, Glasgow Over Plastic, Young Enterprise Scotland, Prince's Trust, Business Gateway and Zero Waste Scotland, amongst many other businesses and social enterprises in and around Glasgow, if you'd also like to support us - get in touch with Sophie at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would love for you to support us too!
- Please follow, like, share and retweet any posts that we make on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and use #zerowasteglasgow
#societyzero or #saynotop. This will help us reach as many people as possible who might want to back us.
- Start the conversation. Talk to everyone you know about what we're doing, what your current habits are and how you're making changes to become plastic free and more zero waste. Let's get the Glasgow zero waste movement moving!
- Say no to P! (plastics) - Refuse single use plastics at your local bars, restaurants and coffee shops by being prepared by bringing your own reusable straw and cup - you'll more often than not get a discount on your takeout caffeine kick too.
From our Director and Founder Sophie (pictured) we thank you for your support!
If we manage to reach our target and surpass it, we would love to finance as many market stalls as possible with your backing for the rest of 2018 and bring in more products.
Through our market stalls we can build up the finance to start looking at premises and make our fully stocked and kitted out social enterprise zero waste shop and workshop space from dream to reality!