Last week I visited Ecover’s Rubbish Cafe in Covent Garden – a two day pop up to challenge the way that we think about plastic waste. And it seems like the event was an absolute success, even if only judging by the long queue that began to snake its way down the Long Acre road!
I particularly loved this flower wall, emblazoned with some rather mossy “Let’s Live Clean” lettering. The plants were cleverly placed in rubbish containers including plastic bottles and light bulbs to echo the event’s purpose around rethinking our waste.
They also featured some fun facts, for example: “one recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a light bulb for three hours” and “an estimated 12.6 million tonnes of plastic ends up in oceans each year” – really thought provoking stuff!
On the other side of the cafe was this green wall featuring Ecover’s latest range amidst the green pot plants and stems. The range, which launched in autumn last year, is made from 50% ocean plastic collected during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro!
The first of its kind, Ecover is now gearing up to ensure all its bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic by 2020 – an ambitious target but I have no doubt they will manage it.
What I really loved is that this mission to rethink waste was truly embodied throughout the cafe. I almost doubt you would believe me if I said that the bar is made from reclaimed wooden pallets, the rugs from recycled plastic straws and the cushions from recycled plastic bottles!
I think that this, more than anything, shows us that today the limits of possibility within a circular economy are being pushed beyond their conventional boundaries.
But the most exciting bit which I haven’t even touched on yet is that everyone who visited the cafe was able to pay for their food and drink with plastic waste! So I brought along two old containers and in return got a lovely cup of tea.
The zero waste menu was designed by Tom Hunt, eco-chef and author of The Natural Cook: Eating the Seasons from Root to Fruit. There was lots to choose from: a Revolution Bowl, a Rubbish Bowl, a Mother Nature Bowl as well as banana bread, made with wonky fruit.
It’s just a shame the cafe was only open for two days – I already want to go back!