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Leith & Gray's War on Waste

(approx 4 min read)

Leith & Gray's war on waste

The amount of waste the UK generates every year is immense and unfortunately, once it leaves your home, it’s journey becomes forgotten about for most people. It’s difficult to comprehend just how much waste is actually generated but we love how Metro Waste has managed to put it into simple terms for us to be able to understand:

“So, as you can see from the latest published figures, the UK produced 221 million tonnes of waste in a single year. Putting that into context, the average small car (e.g. a Nissan Micra) weighs around a tonne and is about 4 metres long, so if they were put end to end, they’d circle the earth over 22 times!”

That is not only an astonishingly huge amount but it’s also really thought-provoking and has made us, here at Leith & Gray, re-think some of the ways in which we work as a company and what we can do to reduce our waste.

As a very small business, our waste isn’t huge but as a country we are all responsible for generating part of it and so we should all be looking at ways to improve reducing it, if we can and don’t already do so. 

One of our most recent ideas was to focus on ways to reduce our product waste. Whilst this doesn’t happen often, there are inevitably times when we have ordered too many consumables when sales have been high, leading to some products approaching their best before dates. Despite these still being absolutely fine to eat, we completely understand that some customers would not wish to purchase them, especially when they are sending these as gifts.

So, to combat this waste, we came up with a plan. Everybody loves a bargain and what better way to get one than with massively reduced Surprise Steal Boxes. Inside these secret-to-us boxes we packed our finest chocolate bars and other delicious edibles that were nearing their best before dates and put them on sale for a fraction of their usual price. 

Leith & Gray surprise steal box

Guess what… they sold out in just under 2 hours and we had to add more to the website!

Yes, we made a loss but we also made a huge gain - we prevented them from being thrown away and we made some customers very happy in the process. It felt good to be doing two fantastic things at once.

We have always been conscious of keeping waste down at Leith & Gray and we recycle as much of our suppliers packaging as we can.

  • Protective bubble wrap is reused to protect breakables inside our boxes.
  • Packaging peanuts are either reused for protection or dissolved in water as they are 100% biodegradable, eco-friendly and compostable.
  • Our luxury gift boxes are not only made from recycled box board and fully recyclable but they can also be used over and over again as a beautiful keepsake box, or even to re-gift.
  • Most of our postal boxes and packaging is recyclable and where it can't be recycled you can definitely reuse it.
  • We keep what goes into our boxes to a minimum - we don't include any paperwork or countless flyers and leaflets. Inside we simply put your hand written notecard and a small discount card with all of our details on. We also keep all of our paperwork to a minimum, favouring digital over notebooks.
  • As we are solely an online business we don't print or send out any brochures or catalogues.
  • This year we aim to find more suppliers who are working hard at being sustainable, in their packaging as well as their products.
  • We've started to use a stamp with a refillable ink pad instead of stickers on the outside of our packaging boxes. 

Leith & Gray logo stamp for boxes

This is just the start and we are confident there are more ways in which we can carry on fighting the war on waste!

One of our fabulous suppliers, Ecoffee Cup, has a very informative page on their website that's most definitely worth a read. They state some alarming stats about single use cups and the amount made each year is staggeringly high! We'd urge you to go and have a read as it's so important we are all aware of how we are impacting our environment, even in ways which seem so small.

Ecoffee cup

Even if we all just start with an Ecoffee cup in place of a single use one we will be helping with the war on waste and looking after our planet.

To those of you who are already making a conscious effort to prevent waste we would love to hear your thoughts on how you do this and any ways in which we could apply it to our business and improve on what we are already doing.

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