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Green Bottles... and Thyme

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Words: Paul Chapman

We know Bottle and Thyme for it's good food, friendly team and relaxed atmosphere, but this young dynamic lot are passionate about looking after the planet and over the last six months have been working towards delivering the experience you’re used to, but in a more sustainable way.

“It’s taken us six months of hard work to get where we are. For any business, no matter how big or small, cutting down on plastic and waste takes time, but it is possible.”

I went along to meet Gavin Grainger over a cup of their ethical coffee, to see how they’re approaching things.

“The waste we generate and the impact we have is something that’s been playing on our mind for some time, so we’ve decided to work towards going green and zero-waste” says Gavin.

There’s a flyer in the shop that you can pick which explains more about it.

“I know many businesses are starting on this journey and an easy win on the plastic front has been to swap straws, but for me it’s about doing more than that and changing our business ethos.

“We’ve been looking at everything we do, starting from a zero waste perspective… we’ve been looking at every item that comes through the door, and more importantly, everything that goes out the door!”

“Across a year, we estimated we produce 220,000 litres of waste just from our business. So, we’ve started making huge changes. The four frequently referred to principles are REFUSE (unnecessary packaging), REDUCE (food wastage), REUSE (any containers we do have get put to use to store other things) and RECYCLE (using commercial composting and unavoidable waste and recycling glass, cardboard, paper and plastic). We no longer have a grey waste bin – everything is being reduced or gets recycled.”

Gavin explains “We’re looking at every piece of single-use plastic. Our straws are PLA, which is made from renewable biomas, but is more robust than paper - paper breaks down too quickly in drinks so we need something that lasts until the last sip” explains Gav. “These still need to be commercially composted and we’re doing that. We’re making takeaway cups available and also containers, so if you can’t finish everything on your plate, you can take it home.

“Some things are more difficult. Our steaks are vac-packed due to food hygiene standards, we can’t do anything about that immediately but over time we’ve hoping to find a solution. Our organic veg is delivered in boxes that are returned and reused” explains Gav.

With food waste they are monitoring what people return, what’s left on plates, and acting accordingly and making changes.

Fruit and veg is ordered daily to reduce waste and everything is tightly controlled so they only have what they need. Unfortunately, there is a small amount of leftover food which has to go somewhere - this goes into food waste and is commercially composted along with straws and cup lids, etc.

“There is virtually nothing left each day; some leftover foods are used in soups etc but each day there is little to use”, adds Gavin.

“Bottle and Thyme source all organic fruit and vegetables. The lack of pesticides results in more sustainable soil, treated soils need long periods to recover. I eat organic at home so I see this as something I should be doing with the business.”

If you are a small organic supplier, Gavin would be interested to hear from you. They are happy to work with non-certified suppliers, so they can support local suppliers and invest in the community.

“We’ve changed our fish supplier, to a more sustainable source, which is MSC certified. This assures us that the fisherman consider how they fish, how low they drop their nets etc, and lessens the impact.”

Bottle and Thyme have reviewed their meat sources and their beef comes from a grass-fed source, whilst poultry and pork are both free-range. Even the coffee supplier has changed recently - the new supplier is ethical, and you’re able to source the beans back to the farmer and ensure a process that’s fair to all in the supply chain.

Importantly from a climate change perspective… Bottle and Thyme also have a great range of vegetarian and vegan options for people who are choosing to reducing their environmental impact by reducing their meat consumption.

“We are keeping a close eye on developments, and where it makes sense for us to change, we’ll adopt the new products.”

If you call in with your own cup, for a takeaway coffee, they’ll give you a 10% discount, and they’ll soon have their own reusable cups, should you want to buy one in store.

“It’s taken us six months of hard work to get where we are. For any business, no matter how big or small, cutting down on plastic and waste takes time, but it is possible.”

There is also a cost to all this change which has to be soaked up or passed on to clients. “For us at Bottle and Thyme, we feel we’re doing the right thing and we haven’t increased our prices. Our hope is that people see what we’re doing and come to us where they can be assured we’re doing out bit.”

Gavin admits that there are still things to do, but every action makes a positive impact. “We really are welcome to new suggestions on anything you might spot, so do come and talk to us”.

Check out the new website which covers the changes in more detail and be sure to call in to sample the menu … and make sure you don’t leave anything!

Bottle and Thyme

15 - 17 Knifesmithgate

Chesterfield S40 1RL

T: 01246 768283


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