Hitchin businesses honoured for taking on plastic-free pledge
- Credit: Plastic Free Hitchin
Three businesses in the heart of Hitchin that have made the pledge to eliminate single-use plastics from their operation have been honoured as 'Plastic Free Champions'.
Jolly Brown on Tilehouse Street, Sun Street's Hitchin Coffee Lab and Harvest Moon on Bucklersbury are the first Plastic Free Hitchin pioneers, and have each been presented with a wooden plaque to honour their intentions.
The initiative - which follows the ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ (SAS) accreditation to be eventually given the Plastic Free Town status - was set up in 2019 to help businesses, organisations and community groups to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics.
This month, three businesses have officially become accredited as Plastic Free Champions, paving the way forward for others to follow suit.
To be awarded with a plaque - and have the SAS Plastic Free Champion status - each business had to eliminate three single-use items from their operation, and create a plan to identify and tackle the rest.
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Anni Sander, community lead for Plastic Free Hitchin, said: “We are proud that Hitchin Coffee Lab, Jolly Brown and Harvest Moon have been awarded the Plastic Free status by Surfers Against Sewage. They are great examples of local independent businesses that are doing their best to be part of the solution rather than the problem.
"Our Plastic Free Hitchin initiative is all about engaging positively with the people in our town. Awarding these three certificates will hopefully inspire others to follow their lead.”
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Harvest Moon is now not offering any plastic bags, uses refillable cleaning products and has ditched plastic bin liners in support of Plastic Free Hitchin.
Founder Janet Jenkins said: “My personal fight to raise awareness about the environmentally unfriendliness of plastics started in 1965 aged five and through the shop in 1994. Receiving the plaque and certificate will help to renew our enthusiasm and commitment to promoting alternatives to plastic and reusing what already exists in innovative ways."
She added: "We have always sold products from recycled sources and newspapers and books and magazines informing on climate and sustainability issues."
Partners of Harvest Moon also take part in beach clean ups on the South Devon coast and support Surfers Against Sewage: "Plastic free is part of a much bigger awareness raising mission," Janet said.
As part of their plastic-free pledge, Hitchin Coffee Lab on Sun Street are not offering any plastic cutlery or straws, and ask their suppliers to cut down on their plastic use, too.
They roast their coffee beans themselves and carry it to their shops in reusable containers, cutting the need for single-use coffee bags.
"Since 2016, we have served up brews and cakes to the people of Hertfordshire, and in that time we have seen a significant change in the way that we view rubbish and single use plastics," Mehmet Ozdil, Hitchin Coffee Lab's founder said.
"Our primary environmental goal is to provide our shops and our wholesale clients with a greener solution for delivering and storing coffee for their commercial use."
At the start of their roasting journey, Hitchin Coffee Lab made the decision to only provide wholesale customers and shops with tubs or boxes, which, in turn, has prevented over 8,500 single use coffee bags unnecessarily going to landfill. Steps have also been taken to only use carbon neutral couriers.
He added: "We are not perfect, and are looking to change even more for the cause; because we all have a responsibility to be more sustainable, it’s not a choice anymore."
Jolly Brown has also ditched plastic carrier bags, and reuse their received packaging when sending items on. They consciously source brands with high sustainability standards, their cleaning products are refills and toilet paper is sourced without plastic packaging.
Owner Hannah Killingbeck Brown said: “This is not optional for me, it’s essential.
"Being plastic free and consciously buying is the only way forward and; whilst I truly believe it has to come from governments and large scale businesses, we can all start at grass roots and that is where stores like mine come in.
"I have been buying and selling second hands since I can remember shopping. I took the leap, opening Jolly Brown in 2007 and every moment I am becoming more conscious of what my offerings are and how essential they are to life and the planet."
Hannah prides herself in being able to trace all her products right back to inception, and made profit-altering decisions to make Jolly Brown as ethical, sustainable and earth loving as it can be.
"The pandemic changed JB," she continued, "But, in hindsight, this will work in its favour. I can offer smaller scale, more personal services and products.
"Being supported by Plastic Free Hitchin and SAS has been such an honour and I’m so proud to be a champion for them and Mother Earth.”