Home Articles & Features Innovative brothers help caterers beat the coming single use plastics tax

Innovative brothers help caterers beat the coming single use plastics tax

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Adrian and Neil Balcombe
Adrian and Neil Balcombe

MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee have released a report calling for a tax on all single use plastic packaging. Two brothers have set out innovative ways to help caterers beat the tax, and save money at the same time.

United by a passion for the great outdoors and a desire to protect it for generations to come, two brothers from Boston Spa in Yorkshire are on a mission to revolutionise the way businesses, individuals and events organisers access alternatives to single use plastic packaging. Back in May of this year, Adrian and Neil Balcombe launched their joint venture ‘Single Use Alternatives’: an honest approach to eco-friendly packaging, aiming to remove needless barriers that often prevent consumers on multiple levels from embracing sustainable packaging alternatives.

Genuine, viable alternatives to plastic packaging

The brothers continue to carry out extensive research into the sustainable alternatives industry, ascertaining which products are truly recyclable, which are compostable and which are neither. This was essential to their business model. They endeavour to demystify the confusion consumers face by providing products that genuinely reduce the impact to the environment, so that everyone from caterers to cafes will be able to make real inroads into reducing their plastic waste.

With many years experience in retail – both wholesale, sourcing and product development – Adrian knew that no matter how genuinely eco-friendly their packaging alternatives were, this would not be enough to independently motivate sales. That the products they sell would need to be as affordable as they are innovative, to truly convince business owners of their viability.

Adrian stated, “We’ve had a fantastic response from customers in this first quarter and as we expand our connections, the community we’re creating is becoming increasingly more informed about plastic free products. With more businesses joining our buying consortium, we’re able to significantly increase the size of our orders from the manufacturer at a lower cost per unit – savings which we are feeding back to our customers. These fantastic products are a financially viable alternative to single use plastics.”

Eco-packaging at the push of a button

Whilst recycling is something that we’ve all heard of and is likely something we all believe in to a greater or lesser degree – when you’re running a business, time is money. Convenience can be as much a barrier as any other, and this formed the other focal point of the brothers’ business model.

Utilising Neil’s background in web design and eCommerce – the Single Use Alternatives website focuses on providing customers with an easy-to-use, simplistic shopping experience. Built with mobile-first functionality, but accessible from any device, consumers are able to succinctly navigate their way through a catalogue of consciously selected, plastic-free products.

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot

Principles that are as much about the public’s approach to plastic waste as they are about the infrastructure available to us. These are the principles that Single Use Alternatives want to promote, encouraging consumers to firstly refuse products that use needless plastic, which will go some way to reducing your plastic waste, but reduce even further where possible. The plastic that you can’t avoid using should be reused and substitute single use plastics for reusable alternatives. Recycle your waste when it can’t be used any longer. But crucially, know the difference between what you can recycle, what you can’t, and what you may be able to rot.

A ‘one stop shop’ for a greener future

Single Use Alternatives was intentionally set apart from their competitors from the very beginning. Offering their potential customers the option to shop in smaller quantities with no minimum order, perfect for smaller businesses without the space for holding large amounts of stock. Providing an open and transparent pricing structure, including competitive delivery costs. And delivering next day, in 24 or 48 hour increments on any working day of the week.

The site is intended to be a one stop shop for anyone looking to reduce their plastic waste, both as a stockist of product, but also with the intent to educate and inform. The brothers continue to work tirelessly to source innovative product that will enable their customers to make an informed and valuable choice. Their carefully tailored product list, ranging from fully compostable coffee cups and hot food containers to completely biodegradable cutlery and tableware – represent the most competitive products on the market in their category.

Through offering prices up to 25% less than major distributors, stocking unique and innovative product and removing the common barriers that prevent companies or indeed individuals from buying these alternatives – Adrian and Neil are fulfilling what they see as a responsibility. For their children and generations to come by helping us all to reduce our plastic waste.