AN Edinburgh-based shop will be going plastic-free starting from New Year’s Day and is hoping to inspire other businesses to follow suit and kick off 2021 in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

The Leith Collective showcases the work of more than 120 artists and makers from all over Scotland, brought together by a common aim to reuse, recycle, reclaim, and resell items that may otherwise have been destined for landfill. As of January 1, 2021, The Leith Collective will ban all new plastic in its Edinburgh store.

However, it is a task that has proved to be more difficult than first expected according to owner Sara Thomson. She said: “There is plastic in so many everyday things – things you would never have imagined contain plastic; it can be incredibly deceptive. So we’ve had our work cut out for us researching and sourcing alternatives.”

From re-imagining their visual displays and finding upcycled and biodegradable packaging, right down to the finer details such as switching to non-plastic sticky tape and barcode stickers, they have thought of everything.

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Describing how it all started, Thomson explained: “The idea came to me during lockdown. It was amazing going for a walk each day and seeing nature flourish untouched, right before my eyes. Then came the stark contrast, seeing just how quickly single-use masks and plastic gloves were being discarded on beaches and roadsides, causing untold damage. I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing, I had to take action.”

Her biggest hope is that other businesses will learn from her example and adopt a similar approach. Thomson added: “It’s not easy to find accurate plastic usage statistics because generally businesses don’t want to broadcast the fact they have a huge plastic waste problem. However, we just hope our pledge to become a plastic-free shop inspires other businesses to think about their own environmental impact and what steps they too can take to minimise their effect on the world around us.”

Based at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre, The Leith Collective is inviting local business owners to visit plastic-free shop

and join in their quest to go green

in 2021.