Interview with LeedsTV about our SME National Business Awards nomination

We setup Single Use Alternatives last year, off the back of growing media and public interest in changing the use of single use plastics and our own desires to lead more sustainable lifestyles. Following our launch of a range of eco friendly containers, we’d worked hard with local businesses, with a focus on this year’s Summer festival season. We were also targeting the regulatory changes, due in March this year, with regard to single use plastic straws and stirrers. However, overnight on Friday 20th March full lockdown was announced due to Covid-19. The high street customers we’d started to build a business with, along with the anticipated Summer festival season evaporated, and we thought it was all over.

Just like many businesses we had to reinvent ourselves and refocused on takeaway. We added a broader range of biodegradable takeaway products and even launched our own unique eco friendly takeaway container, all within two weeks. A potential UK first, made with a new sustainable board that is oven-able, microwavable and yet certified home compostable (and recyclable if you can’t home compost). We were able to price it competitively too, because of the lean structure we have had from the start.

We’ve benefitted from more people wanting to make the change away from single use plastics. All our biodegradable products are made from plants, not oil based plastic. That’s the key thing to us. Continuing use of oil based plastics, means the world continues to dig up one of our planets greatest carbon sinks. Our biodegradable products, made from plants, take carbon out of the air and hence help slow greenhouse gas emission build up in the atmosphere (and thus climate change). There’s lots of debate about what people can do, read more on our blog here. It frustrates us that not many people are making the changes needed in their lifestyles, they’d prefer to debate what they think is best (and there’s lots of great ideas), but this is exactly where the fossil fuel lobbies want us all to be, by dividing, they conquer, and delay their ultimate demise. That’s why we setup singleusealternatives. Simple. Affordable. Less Plastic.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still hard work, yet the trajectory of the fundamental business model is encouraging and with the upcoming regulatory changes, we hope this will mean we can continue to support high street businesses through to next Summer’s festival season and beyond. To be a National SME award finalist is recognition of this hard work and we hope that from this we can get more people to share what we are trying to achieve. We are #BetterTogether as we all reinvent ourselves in these challenging times. As Sir David Attenborough has recently said, ‘the future is up to everyone of us’.

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