I love hearing about sustainable businesses, especially when they are local to me. Sometimes living in Devon (or the Southwest in general) can feel like the rest of the country has forgotten about us, but we have a lot of greatness to offer! So, let’s start celebrating our local successes – especially those with an environmental focus. Here are five sustainable businesses in Devon that everyone should be talking about:
Borrow Don’t Buy, Plymouth – Sustainable Solutions
Simply put, this is a library of ‘things’. Borrow Don’t Buy are a non-profit business in Plymouth promoting a circular economy. They opened up their doors in 2018 after a successful crowd-funding campaign. They are here to provide the local community a way of borrowing items – so they don’t need to buy them.
There’s a whole host of reasons on why we love them. One reason, in particular, is how they source their items. The majority of things they loan out have been either donated or purchased second hand. They don’t let items go to waste, instead, they give them the much-needed love and use every product deserves. This fantastic and sustainable business doesn’t just provide you with things – they also help you fix them. Borrow Don’t Buy runs an outstanding repair café each month. Here you can receive hands-on help to fix and restore your personal items.
Borrow Don’t Buy in Plymouth are also saving the local community thousands of pounds. Just in their first 18 months of running, their members have saved a massive £50,326 of valuable income. That’s huge! Living sustainably doesn’t have to be expensive, and Borrow Don’t Buy are proving just that.
Ashley House Print, Exeter – Eco-Conscious Printing
Ashley House Print pride themselves on being one of the most eco-friendly printers across the UK. Based in Exeter, Ashley House Print have years of experience which enables them to produce stunning high-quality prints without impacting harshly on the environment. They offer a wide range of printing options to suit a variety of needs – while always looking to find the most eco-conscious way of producing your work.
Not only do they use paper sourced from FSC®-certified mills and vegetable-based inks at Ashley House Print, but they are also committed to reducing and recycling all waste. They use sustainable materials for packing orders, including paper tape and corrugated card – both of which are 100% recyclable.
Ashley House Print are also Corporate Partners in the Woodland Trust Scheme and proudly support the Printers Against Plastic Campaign. All of their eco-credentials are readily available to view so you can be sure working with them means working sustainably.
The Zero Waste Shop, Totnes – Sustainable Shopping
The Zero Waste Shop in Totnes was the UK’s FIRST zero waste, organic, bulk-buy, plant-based, wholefoods shop. If that’s not a reason to celebrate, then I don’t know what is. They really spearheaded the way for small sustainable businesses and shops. Nicola and Richard opened The Zero Waste Shop in 2017. Their main goal with the store was to get everyone working together as a community to create a healthier planet. They want the world to be sustainable, clean and thriving for our future generations to enjoy. They are setting the perfect example for everyone, including their daughter Willow – who I’m sure already plays a big part in their family business!
Following their success of The Zero Waste Shop in Totnes, Nicola and Richard have inspired many more individuals across the UK to shop more consciously. Not only did it inspire consumers, but business owners too. The Zero Waste Shop started a domino effect of others opening their own packaging-free Zero Waste Stores. Nicola and Richard have even created a go-to guide for starting your own store. They share their personal step-by-step process. They aren’t trying for the competitive advantage, instead, they are encouraging others to create their own stores, and provide a zero-waste option for more communities.
The Zero Waste Shop is the ultimate sustainable business. I think we can all take a leap out of their books!
Sancho’s, Exeter – Fashion With A Passion
Sancho’s, based in Exeter, is a sustainable business focusing on clothing and lifestyle. They were founded in 2014. Kalkidan and Vidmantas were inspired to open their store after travelling through developing countries. During their travels, they saw the effects of the fast fashion industry first hand. After this experience, they wanted to make a change. They wanted to support a community of likeminded individuals who desired to know the truth behind their clothes, and the impact it has on the environment.
Sancho’s is making it easier and more accessible for people to make conscious choices about what they buy. Sancho’s only offers high-quality pieces that have been produced fairly with responsible materials. Their designs are beautiful, affordable and ready for everyday wear. If you’re looking to shop sustainably, be sure to visit Sancho’s in Exeter – and continue to support smaller businesses.
ALFA Design, Plymouth – Design For Making A Difference
ALFA Design has a strong ethos and an inspirational story. Ran by Amie and Levi with the help of their children Freya and Albert, ALFA Design offers a wide range of design services and elegant artwork from logos and branding to murals and signage for businesses and individuals. They started working on ALFA Design when they became tired of the standard 9-5 routine and not having enough time to spend together as a family. In just over six months, they have been able to create their own community and have brought many like-minded businesses together. A start-up encouraging start-ups! And, most importantly, they have much more space for family time. Check out their family Instagram to see what they’re up to!
ALFA Design is completely transparent with their ‘eco pledge’ and take pride in living as sustainably as possible. But what really stands out to me is their commitment to working with other eco-friendly and local businesses. They work with companies who have a similar ethos, which in turn, I’m sure will continue to encourage more businesses to become more environmentally conscious.
On a personal level, I have really enjoyed working with ALFA Design to create my own branding for Earthkind Events. You can see all over my website just how stunning their designs are.
Earthkind Events – Sustainable Changes
Ok so there’s six on the list, but it would be remiss of me not to include ourselves on here! So what is our deal? We, at Earthkind Events, work with businesses to help them discover sustainable practices they can implement today. Our workshops have a very practical focus and can be tailored to your business and for employees of all levels. You can read about our workshops in more detail here. Or better yet, contact us now to start your own sustainable business journey.
We also offer sustainability retreats if you’re looking for some inspiration in your personal life, or just want to meet some likeminded people who share the same values. Our theme for the 2020 retreats is reducing plastic. You can sign up here to be the first to know when our exclusive retreats go on sale.
So, there we go, that’s Six Sustainable Businesses in Devon that we should all be talking about. Feel free to share this with your friends and colleagues and let’s get everyone talking sustainability!