Plastic Free Lyme Regis: Penny Black Café

Nicky Taylor, co-owner of Penny Black Café

CONTINUING our series of interviews looking at businesses and organisations around Lyme Regis that are planning to become single-use plastic free, Karen Durham-Diggins of Plastic Free Lyme Regis speaks to Nicky Taylor, co-owner of the Penny Black Café in Broad Street.

WHAT have been the hardest challenges in working to reduce plastic in your business?

I would say for us it’s been about changing bad habits. Remembering shopping bags and also if we are buying loose fruit and veg don’t take a plastic bag but take a container with you.

Also pay more attention to detail and don’t make an assumption something is biodegradable or recyclable. For example, we were sourcing bags from Amazon for our takeaway and then found that some were actually lined with plastic.

Just make sure you spend more time paying attention to detail and making sure that it is green as it says it is or as you think it is.

WHAT have you achieved in reducing plastic and any other environmental savings?

We have sourced some really nice containers for our takeaway food and drinks; we found a really nice box which is made of sugar cane and some nice biodegradable cups for the coffee and milkshakes.

We’ve also reduced our use of clingfilm; most catering businesses have to use quite a lot to preserve the food and keep it fresh but we reuse our plastic packaging.

So for example our ice cream comes in plastic tubs, so we wash and sterilise those to keep food fresh. We also use these tubs when we shop locally, whether it’s sausages, meat or cheese.

WHAT have been the business benefits of reducing plastic?

We found by introducing recycling to the business we have more than halved our landfill waste and paying for a recycling service is actually cheaper. So a win-win for us and the environment, in that sense.

We also find that our employees and our customers are more engaged because they like to see a business going that extra mile in terms of reducing plastic. So this enhances our reputation as a business.

WHAT do you hope to achieve for the future?

What we’d really like to do is make waste free shopping part of our weekly routine. There is the Green Weigh that visits Charmouth, and used to visit Lyme Regis, and the farm shop opposite where we actually live. We go there and get our nuts and fruit and we also refill our containers for detergent and things like that.

The other thing that we planned for and have now achieved is our courtyard garden at the café which is perfect to grow salads, soft fruits and herbs. We reused some old pallets that we had to not only make seating but also to make planters so we can grow our own produce here on site.

Watch the video of this interview below or to find out more about Plastic Free Lyme Regis visit

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