Grand Arcade is hosting a week-long event of exhibitions and activities, from 22 to 30 October, focusing on the Circular Economy to give practical examples and ideas of what individuals and businesses can do to lessen their consumption and lifestyle impact on the world.

The week-long “Let’s Go Circular” event will showcase some of the best circular economy initiatives from across Cambridgeshire through a programme of interactive workshops and an exhibition space, that will focus on the three pillars of the Circular Economy: Design out waste and pollution; Keep products and materials in use; and Regenerate natural systems.

Julie Kervadec, Marketing Manager, Grand Arcade, said: “During the pandemic, I did a Circular Economy training course with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that opened my eyes to the changes we need to make as individuals and as business to survive and thrive as a local community. The idea behind Let’s Go Circular is to use a highly visited place, like Grand Arcade, as a platform to learn more about the Circular Economy principles. We want to help show practical examples of what we can do in our daily life, as it can sometimes feel overwhelming “Where should I start? How can I make an impact? What does circular really mean?”. A true shift from a linear to a regenerative circular economy requires a whole system approach and mindset shift, but we have to start somewhere.”

Kicking off the week of interactive workshops is the charity Sew Positive, which will show visitors how they can mend their own clothes in order to slow down their fashion impact. Grand Arcade will end it with its first Repair Café thanks to the charity Cambridge Carbon Footprint, to repair your broken items!

Nicole Barton, Volunteer and Events Organiser at Cambridge Carbon Footprint, said: “Cambridgeshire is a hub for Repair Cafes with over 30 individual groups holding joyful events that match people with experience and a passion for repair, with people who need stuff fixing. Our repairers are passionate about saving the earth’s resources and keeping stuff out of landfill. Repairing saves carbon too – repairing a laptop rather than replacing it will save the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions as a flight from London to Berlin!”

To help the Cambridge public understand how they can turn waste into something else, John Lewis will be displaying its BeautyCycle Scheme, which is available exclusively to My John Lewis members across the UK and enables members to recycle a broad range of beauty packaging. Since its launch in November 2019, it has saved 1.1 million items from going to landfill.

Also confirmed as part of the week are:

  • Make Cambridge, will share how people can give their clothes a new lease of life through a “Circular Fashion” workshop
  • Re-Imagine Resource Centre, will be sharing how people can avoid food waste and support their Community Larder scheme
  • Unpckd, a refill delivery service in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire for families wanting to shop more consciously but conveniently

Kervadec continued: “It is an opportunity to showcase some of the brilliant retailers’ initiatives that can shift the way we consume and be repeated by more businesses. BeautyCycle from John Lewis is just one example. We are also home to  Polarn O.Pyret, which started PO.P Second Hand service to ensure its garments are worn by three children or more! The clothes store turns pre-loved into re-loved, and promises to buy your new PO.P items back off you again once they are outgrown.

“Local start-ups like Unpckd also deserve to be known by anyone visiting Grand Arcade, as they are innovating in offering zero-waste services to the community. We want to amplify the voice and impact of these companies by giving their teams a pop-up space.

“We don’t pretend to be circular as a Centre, although we are working hard to reduce our waste, electricity and water consumption. However, we do have a privileged platform of communication – we thrive by being a Centre that works to supports the entire community and want to do our part. That’s why we are inviting amazing local organisations to run workshops and share their initiatives with a wider audience.

“From a Repair Café to sewing lessons, recipes to cook a meal out of food that would have gone to waste, tips about how to recycle in Cambridgeshire, and science activities about the importance of regenerating our wildlife, we will try to address each of the Circular Economy pillars.”

Martin Macwhinnie, Centre Manager, adds: “By changing our processes, we are reducing the number of vehicle visits to handle recycling from over 40 per month to fewer than 20 per year! We have also invested in all our escalators in the centre, which means that they run at half speed when not in use, which is reducing our energy usage by 40%.”

“The way we need to reframe our economy to reflect circular principles also has a resonance in the current financial situation. Repairing and reusing products and changing our attitudes to waste can save all of us money too”.

More announcements for the week and the full programme will be shared on the shopping centre’s website and social media channels.

If your business, charity, environmental or community group is interested in getting involved with Let’s Go Circular, please email Elle Roberts-Nissen on elle.roberts-nissen@consciouscomms.com.

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