• Hannah Garcia

Imperfect wasters: talking rubbish and raising funds with Ripple

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

Becca describes the plans for the site

A couple of weeks ago Becca and Hannah joined Sophie Rae, founder of re-fill shop Ripple, to talk about some of the dilemmas, challenges, and frustrations that face anyone trying to reduce their waste. A packed house at the Gate and an incredibly positive atmosphere made for a really special evening and a clear sign that momentum is continuing to build on environmental and social justice in Cardiff.

It was made even more special for us as Sophie has generously offered to donate the proceeds from the event to the Railway Street project! This represents our first funds raised and, while we're working hard to secure grant funding, it seems fitting that the first financial support for the land came from our own community.

Have you got the refill bug yet? If you've not been to Ripple yet then pop in next time you're on Albany Road - it's a welcoming and friendly place and if you're not familiar with how a refill shop works (most of us aren't) then the staff will sort you out with containers donated by other shoppers and show you the ropes. You can get more than 140 everyday products like pasta, flour, oil, and washing up liquid completely packaging free and – because you're not paying for the packaging – it's often cheaper than the supermarket too. There's some treats on offer alongside the store cupboard supplies such as chocolate buttons, snazzy coffee from Cardiff coffee shop Big Moose, and a great mix of reusable kitchen, home, and self care bits ands bobs.

Back to the event: after some lush music from Manta Ray Bay, Sophie took the stage to discuss her inspiration, the journey that led to the opening of Ripple, and the hectic first months of the shop. The theme of the event was Imperfect Wasters and Sophie was keen to emphasise an idea that underpins our Wasteless workshops: No one is perfect and judgement – of ourselves or others – doesn't help anyone. Reducing our environmental footprint isn't a single step, it's a billion tiny choices, every day, about what to eat or wear, how to live, where to shop and how we treat each other. Taken individually those choice may seem completely insignificant – even pointless – but taken together they represent a movement, a community of shared values with kindness at its heart.

After the break we joined Sophie to chat about the project and take part in a Q&A with the audience. Alongside questions about over packaged veg there were interesting comments on the nature of the movement itself, specifically why does it often seem so overwhelmingly young and white?

Between the talks we were able to chat with loads of lovely local people about the project and we were thrilled that so many people took the time to answer our questions on the design of the community hub; every time we go out to talk about the project it's clear that there's a huge appetite for shared community space where people can plan, swap, fix, learn and take action that makes it easier to live more sustainably.

We're really grateful to Sophie for supporting the project in this way and we'd like to say a big thank you to Rhian, Suzanna, Pip, Lia and everyone who helped us out at the event.

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