Reduce, Reuse, Revamp, Recycle!

One of the things we all feel strongly about is the need reduce the amount of waste we ‘throw away’ here and to keep our consumption of resources to a minimum….

Here are some of the things we’ve done which I think meet this aim:-

1) We compost biodegradable waste – food scraps, paper towels, teabags, coffee grounds, paper which can’t go in the recycling bin.

2) Every part of the cafe either has separate bins for recyclables, or if not then the bins get rummaged through to sort things wot can be composted and recycled. We recycle all glass, tins, paper, card, plastics with a 1, 2, or 3 mark, plastic lids with a ‘5’ mark are saved up to be donated to a charity, Tetrapacks are cleaned and passed to our friends at October Books where they are sent to a recycling facility.

3) On the re-use front, we use marge tubs for storage, reuse any plastic bags (usually a few times), Ziggy is saving up bottle tops to make spokey-dokeys for bicycles and makes plant tags out of tomato puree tubes! We often reuse scrap paper and card, bits of string, elastic bands, paper bags from the veg are used to store compostables before being composted themselves.

3) Energy saving stuff, lightbulbs mainly as much of the electrical equipment is second hand…. and there is of course the amazing kettle of glory which saves 65% energy by heating only exactly what we need. We are pretty good at switching things off when not in use, although in a public space this can be hard!

4) The lion’s share of furniture and equipment is second hand (hooray for the tip) as is a lot of our cooking equipment.

5) We buy recycled loo roll.

6) We buy things in bulk to reduce packaging……could do this more though!

Things I think we could improve:-

1) Get energy from renewable supplier like ecotricity

2) Reuse grey water to water the garden.

3) Get a water saving device on the loo!

4) In the long term…. a solar panel for water heating? A wind turbine on the roof!?

5) Source more local ingredients to reduce food miles.

6) Use refillable packaging for coffee, soft drinks and so on – the small glass bottles for the soft drinks are a nasty waste, as are the coffee bags. Our coffee supplier, Mozzo, is working on a refill system instead of disposable bags.

All things to think about and suggestions are very welcome! Time pressure can make reuse/recycling a challenge at times…. at the end of a busy shift sometimes washing out Tetrapacks or walking to the bottle bank can seem a pain, but thinking up ways to save resources is also so much fun!


About arthousesouthampton

The Art House is a not-for-profit café, gallery and arts venue in the centre of Southampton. We are a place you can meet new people, meet up with friends or just come in by yourself. Our licensed café offers delicious organic lunches, Fairtrade tea and homemade cake. We also have a busy programme of events, workshops, and art exhibitions, a clothing and crafts boutique and lots more. Most of our crew are volunteers and you might even want to apply to join them. Come along and enjoy our unique, community run space.
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