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  • Interview with babyeo Founder, Ashley Bartlett-Tasker

    It's estimated 183 million items of clothing for the under-threes are lying unused in people's drawers and wardrobes. In addition, more than a quarter of UK parents admit to discarding children's toys that are in perfect working order. It's statistics like this which demonstrate the usefulness of a site like babyeo -a new way to get new and second-hand baby and children's items for a fraction of the normal cost. We caught up with babyeo founder, Ashley Bartlett-Tasker, to find out about this exciting new venture. Which came first for you - passion for business or passion for the environment? That’s a great first question. When I was around 12 years old, I realised I had a passion for business, given the opportunities it can create and the adventures it can lead you to. I wasn’t that aware of the environmental issues until my late teenage years. Being a big believer that small businesses are simply a vehicle for a group of people to deliver their future view of the world, my husband and I started babyeo with like-minded people to do just that - reduce waste in baby and children’s clothes. One of my favourite quotes is you can’t consume infinite resources in a finite world - so all businesses need to sustain their environment. Preserving the environment for future generations has become even closer to my heart since having a little one of my own. What was the key motivating factor at the time you started your business? Just the sheer cost and material waste in the baby and young children’s market. We only realised when my husband and I (Haydon) started trying for a baby. It is an undisputed fact that babies and young children outgrow clothes and play sizes quickly but I took issue with the mainstream players who had done very little to solve this environmental issue and just encouraged over consumption unnecessarily. It’s a horrible stat but the global airline industry produces 0.9bn tonnes of carbon per year. The clothing industry blows Airlines out of the park with a whopping 1.2bn tonnes of carbon per year. How did you finance your business? With our own money and help from friends and family. A shout out to the kind friends and Instagram fans promoting our cause too! We will be looking for seed funding soon after one of our users said we should go and get some, so this may change! Did you have any initial challenges and how did you overcome them? We are a special marketplace, but a marketplace nonetheless. This means we rely on parents listing items and parents wanting to request them. The result is that we have to split our focus and limited resources on both the listing and the requesting side of babyeo - that’s essentially two jobs - and it is very hard! In the ideal world people would hear about you, share with friends and we would have parents listing and requesting thousands of items every day, but that just isn’t where we are on our growth curve. At times it can be quite a slog to get our name out there and get parents to use it - especially if you can’t afford big advertising TV campaigns to raise awareness and trust in the platform. The good news is that once parents do use babyeo they love it - so we are forever pressing onwards and upwards. What are your main revenue streams? As mentioned we are a special marketplace and business. We are not interested in being a Shopify or Instagram baby clothes re-seller which is traditional e-commerce. We want to change the way parents shop to help parents save money and reduce waste. So the only money we make is from the £1-5 service fee, which a parent pays when requesting items. A pram costs £5.00 a clothing bundle is £1.00 for example. That’s it. The service fee keeps the computer servers and lights on. If you were to start from scratch, are there any changes you would make? Yes, certainly: Engaged other green businesses at the start to have a support network to share ideas and tips. Got some help from a designer sooner on the journey - it took us a while. Sought more formal fundraising from the outset (although this is easier said than done in the green sector). Is it difficult to make a green business profitable? If you are a pure play green business then yes. Mostly because your costs will be higher and your market is still quite small. If you are a more traditional business with a green angle (using sustainable goods during manufacturing as an example) you can still tap into the larger more traditional markets but probably have slightly higher costs because the sustainable goods cost more to produce and ship than the standard goods. We are trying to rethink how we consume baby and children’s items so for us we have to create a societal shift to be profitable. That’s quite a challenge ahead but a rewarding one :) !! What gives you the most hope for the environment? People are still building solutions and businesses to aid the environment - people clearly care enough to dedicate lifelong passions to helping the environment and that gives me so much hope. In addition, under new leadership, the United States of America is engaging with the global conversation once again on preventing climate change and taking swift action to protect the environment. You can read more interviews with sustainable business founders and ecopreneurs here.

  • Silicone. An Eco-friendly alternative?

    With the ever-increasing awareness of the issues of plastic pollution, an array of alternatives are springing up, all claiming to be the ideal solution. There has been a huge increase in the number of silicone products hitting the supermarket shelves. eco-friendly is silicone? Let us shed some light on the subject. What is silicone & how is it made? Time for a science lesson! It’s probably helpful at this point to clarify that we are talking about SILICONE and not SILICON here. SILICON is the 14th element of the periodic table and is a component of silica, one of the most prevalent substances on earth. SILICON in its elemental form is found in bricks, glass, and concrete as silica. In enamels, pottery and ceramics it is found as silicate. SILICONES are synthetic polymers made of silicon, oxygen, and other elements - most commonly carbon and hydrogen. Silicone is manufactured using petroleum and natural gas. Unfortunately, the process of obtaining these hydrocarbons can have an environmental impact. To counterbalance this, however, silicone is extremely durable and long-lasting, and if you look after silicone products well, they should last a lot longer than plastic alternatives. Evidently, if you choose a product with a longer life, the environmental impact will be less. There’s no doubt that using products with a longer lifespan is much better for the environment in the long term. How durable is silicone? One of the key benefits of silicone is its durability. As an example, when used in bakeware, it can be heated to (-55 to 300 degrees Celsius). Provided you’ve chosen good quality silicone, it will be: Boilable Freezable Microwaveable Unbreakable Dishwasher safe Sterilizable Given the above attributes, silicone is becoming commonly seen amongst kitchen and cookware offerings. Cake molds, mixing spoons, and now silicone straws are all amongst items you could consider as a plastic alternative. We compared alternatives to plastic straws, including silicone straws here. Is it recyclable? The short answer is yes. But kerbside recycling rarely accepts post-consumer silicone. Terracycle schemes are usually the most easily accessible, although you may need to club together as a group to make this a cost-effective option. Does silicone break down in landfill? Unlike plastic, silicone does not break down into small pieces, so does not produce the microplastic phenomenon that is so harmful to wildlife. One of the reasons why silicone is considered to be a good alternative to plastic is because it doesn’t contain the harmful chemicals we’ve become aware of that linger in plastic items, such as phthalates and BPA. Overall, in comparison with plastic, silicone offers a longer-lasting, more durable, and certainly more sustainable option. Photo by hue12 photography on Unsplash

  • What you should know about B Corps

    If you’re operating in the green or sustainable business sector, you’ve most likely come across the term ‘Certified B Corporations.’ So; what are they? How do you become a Certified B Corporation? What’s the benefit to your company? Read on and we’ll shed some light on the subject... What is B Certification? Certified B Corps are a new kind of business that balance purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This community is driving a global movement of people using businesses as a force for good. Profits from B Corps are used in a number of non-traditional ways; positively impacting employees of that organisation, their local communities and the environment. Why become B certified? If your company becomes B-Certified, you have shown that it is meeting the highest possible standards of performance across the whole environmental and social spectrum. B Certification addresses a company’s entire supply chain, looking into sustainability and raw materials, and will drill down into your company’s employee benefits and charitable givings. It may seem daunting for a small startup to achieve B Certification when the process appears so involved. By setting your sights on this goal from the outset, and by being involved in the requirements, you will be able to make sure your company grows with this endpoint in mind. Small changes early on in your company’s growth will make a big difference further down the line and will be worth the investment. What do I need to do? To become B Certified, you undertake an online impact assessment on behalf of your organisation. For the short assessment/’quick snapshot’ report, this can be carried out in 30 minutes or so, with the full impact report taking 2-3 hours to complete. Get started here. The resulting assessment report will show you where your company is already excelling, and which areas require additional focus. You are then able to use the resources and best practice guides provided to create customised improvement plans for your organisation. How much does it cost? Providing your company meets the necessary requirements, and therefore meets B Certification standards, there is an annual fee payable to the organisation. The amount is dependent upon revenue, but for companies with a turnover of <$150,000 is $1000 per year, and for those generating under $699,000 pa, your fees increase to $1,100. Is it worth it? This is a difficult question! With some of the big names now signing up to meet B Certification status, there’s definitely a trend towards sustainability. As a B-Certified company, it’s likely that potential consumers would see you as taking your sustainability efforts seriously. In terms of credibility and trust, or indeed competitive advantage, we see that can only be a good thing. You can find more advice for your green business here. For inspiration for your ethical business, visit the Spotlight or to brush up on or learn new business skills, browse our recommended Courses.

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Other Pages (45)

  • Forum | Green Springboard

    To see this working, head to your live site. Categories All Posts My Posts Forum Welcome! Have a look around and join the discussions. Create New Post General Discussions Share stories, ideas, pictures and more! Views Posts 1 Follow Legal What’s this category about? Tell visitors what they’ll find in this discussion. Views Posts 0 Follow Branding What’s this category about? Tell visitors what they’ll find in this discussion. Views Posts 0 Follow Social Media What’s this category about? Tell visitors what they’ll find in this discussion. Views Posts 0 Follow Sales What’s this category about? Tell visitors what they’ll find in this discussion. Views Posts 0 Follow Finance What’s this category about? Tell visitors what they’ll find in this discussion. Views Posts 0 Follow Manufacturing/Production What’s this category about? Tell visitors what they’ll find in this discussion. Views Posts 0 Follow Forum - Frameless

  • Sustainable straws | Green Springboard

    Help me choose: Sustainable drinking straws Whether made of glass, stainless steel, paper, bamboo or wheat, there is no question that reusable or compostable paper straws are better for the environment than plastic. More than 500 million plastic straws are used every day in the U.S. , and they are inevitably used for minutes before being thrown away. Since they are too small to be recycled, plastic straws may persist in the environment for hundreds of years, breaking into tiny pieces over time. ​ Obviously, the best thing to use in lieu of a plastic straw is nothing. But for some, straws are a necessity, and there are definitely occasions where using a straw is simply nicer! The main options are biodegradable paper straws, either made from wood or bamboo, or reusable, made from silicone, stainless steel or glass. We review the options here. ​ ​ Photo by loanne pasleau on Unsplash David Attenborough's Blue Planet II brought the attention of the world to the devastating environmental impact that single use plastics including straws are wreaking on our planet, particularly our marine life. Since they are small, plastic drinking straws are often mistaken for food by animals and because of their cylindrical shape, straws can cause suffocation and death to animals. Thankfully, the world's leaders have started to take notice, and in England, plastic straws were banned in October 2020. ​ Ah Table! A pack of 6 glass straws complete with a cleaning brush and suitable for hot and cold drinks. Reusable, ecological, economical and sustainable and the perfect alternative to plastic and paper. These straws are 20cm long and are made from very resistant borosilicate glass. Perfect for reducing your environmental footprint. Certified B Corp Material Biodegradable/ Reusable Recyclable Vegan Price Support this business No Borosilicate glass Reusable Yes Yes £9.50 per pack £1.58 per straw Shop Eco Living 5 stainless steel drinking straws, with a plastic-free plant based cleaning brush. These straws come in a 100% organic cotton carry pouch and packaged in 100% recyclable packaging. These straws are also vegan and plastic-free. A great step towards reducing your environmental impact. Certified B Corp Material Biodegradable/ Reusable Recyclable Vegan Price Support this business No Food-grade stainless steel Reusable Yes Yes £6.99 per pack £1.39 per straw Shop The Silicone Straw Company 6, UK made, BPA free silicone straws which are vegan friendly and can be snipped to any length. Easily cleaned with any cleaning brush and packaged in 100% plastic free packaging. These straws are a perfect alternative to single use plastic and paper straws and they won’t go soggy. For UK customers these straws are definitely a great option! Certified B Corp Material Biodegradable/ Reusable Recyclable Vegan Price Support this business No Food grade & FDA approved silicone Reusable Yes Yes £10.99 per pack £1.83 per straw Shop Turtle Straws A pack of 500 straws made from wheat straw, with no added chemicals, and no nasties. 100% Natural. 100% Biodegradable. These straws are designed to last until the end of your drink, rather than 100s of years, and they won’t go soggy like some paper straws do. Despite being made of wheat, they're also gluten free which is great for those people with a wheat intolerance. Certified B Corp Material Biodegradable/ Reusable Recyclable Vegan Price Support this business No Wheat straw Biodegradable No Yes £20.00 per pack 4p per straw Shop The Cheeky Panda The Cheeky Panda make their packs of 250 straws from 100% FSC-approved bamboo, and unlike most paper straws, won’t break down after getting wet.Their packaging is made from recyclable cardboard and straws made from fast-growing bamboo, so that every aspect is biodegradable. The straws are certified vegan-friendly and cruelty-free! Overall, ultra-sustainable with little impact on the planet and turtles! Certified B Corp Material Biodegradable/ Reusable Recyclable Vegan Price Support this business Yes Bamboo paper Biodegradable No Yes £5.00 per pack. 2.4 per straw Shop Through our reviews we may earn affiliate commission, but we always endeavour to produce objective information. The revenue we generate is used to help us keep our resources for green business free of charge.

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