2017 has been a fantastic year for us at EthiCo. We have come a long way from a group of students sitting in The Bridge and trying to brainstorm how this could work as a business. We have won two rounds of funding from the University of Southampton, purchased two large orders of reusable coffee cups and purchased our whole range of goods for our Essentials Pack. This is all alongside studying for our degrees and running the day to day tasks for the business.
In the last year, we have sold over 300 coffee cups to replace disposable and non-recyclable ones. If we take an average of 3 coffees per week, that is 46,800 cups we are saving going to landfill per year! These numbers go to show how small changes can have a huge impact for our community. We have worked hard with the University and the Union to allow discounts when using reusable cups, which came into fruition before the end of the year! We are also in talks with both the University and the Union as to how we can help even further.
We have attended many events at the University and spoken about the environmental issues behind what we do and spreading awareness of the campaign. Our next event will be during Sustainability week on 7th March at the University, where we will talk about the plastic waste movement and how we can all get involved. We created a #ScrewPlasticWaste campaign towards the end of the year, which we will be growing this year to show the impact of plastic waste in our oceans and how we can help now. This has involved working with TeeMill and Rapanui clothing to bring high quality material for our clothing.
We have also been busy in our local community. Several places now stock our cups as well as other products, mainly our 100% plastic free bamboo toothbrushes. We regularly attend the Repair Cafe in Shirley, where we sell our products and meet a range of like minded people from all over Southampton. You can bring along your broken products to the cafe, where they will try and fix them for you instead of throwing them into landfill. You can have a browse of all the stalls and get some delicious cakes and refreshments while you wait. Or you can come along even if you don't have anything to fix! Its been great to meet the people in our community and we would recommend coming along. They run on the first Saturday of every month.
We will also be talking at October Books in Portswood on Valentine's day (14th February) as part of their "Love The Planet" evening. We will be giving away a free Essentials Pack, all you have to do is share the event and turn up to be in a chance of winning the pack. We are really enjoying expanding our business outside of campus and we will be venturing even further over 2018. We have made sure that we give something back to the community who has supported us from the beginning. We launched our first Christmas appeal, which you can read about here and we will be working with SSJ again throughout the year.
We have even taken EthiCo abroad and explored the use of off-grid gadgets! It turns out perfection is making a Fairtrade coffee by using a kettle that charges your phone and a portable stove that uses twigs to efficiently heat up the kettle (and can also charge your phone). We reviewed these products alongside a range of other off-grid gadgets and linked to where you can buy them.
We are so glad to see so much passion surrounding plastic waste, especially after this was highlighted so beautifully by David Attenborough and the BBC team with Blue Planet 2. EthiCo will keep this momentum going and work with our community to tackle this growing environmental issue. We have written about the issues of recycling before, and now we need to find new solutions. We are very grateful to all of our customers who have joined us in our mission to reduce their plastic waste. The numbers speak for themselves as to how this can have an impact, and we look forward to 2018 being even bigger.