Pioneer Success Stories, Smorgasbord

“Green Street has provided a real positive kick up the backside!”

Recently we caught up with Arif, owner of Smorgasbord.  We talked about the progress his business is making to become more sustainable, and his reflections on working with us.

Tell us about your experience being a Green Street Pioneer:

“If it wasn’t for Green Street it would have been far more difficult to implement change. You know you’re doing something worthwhile for the environment by getting involved!”

Arif told us all about being a part of the Green Street Bradford Pioneers programme, sharing that this experience helped him in changing his mentality towards sustainability and provided motivation to make the effort to inspire change across his team too.

Go on, tell us what changes you made!

Arif admits that, before getting involved with Green Street, the team were lacking knowledge about how to recycle efficiently, but they were all determined to work on waste disposal and recycling to become more sustainable! Initially, the changes presented challenges for staff, but now they have appropriate separation for food and kitchen waste as well as recycling for glass, and cardboard.

This has been a really positive step, which is now easy to implement in day-to-day operations. An added benefit that Arif has realised from separating the waste is just how much food waste they have in the business. Their next step is to start to reduce this. Arif commented that “separating waste at the source processes has now become second nature for us all, but we’re committed to doing more!”

Another important change the team has made is that Smorgasbord used to get its bread delivered in plastic, but has now sourced its deliveries from a local bakery. Deliveries arrive plastic-free, with the added benefit of supporting other local businesses as a result. This one small change has saved over 8000 plastic bags a year, and has the added benefit to Arif’s business of attracting customers who prefer to shop plastic-free. Win, win!

Did you save any cash?

Since implementing changes to its waste disposal and recycling, the business has reduced its waste disposal fees from £3200 per annum to £1800 per annum, which is a significant saving!

What actions will you be working on next?

Arif is on a mission to encourage suppliers to take back the cardboard from deliveries to reuse it; saving resources and cutting down on waste for the cafe. Inciting change with suppliers to highlight where they can be more sustainable is becoming second nature. Smorgasbord is looking into foldable reusables for future deliveries too!

Arif is definitely on a roll! He recently applied for a business grant, after being advised by Green Street that this was available. The grant will support the cost of changing the cafe lighting to more energy-efficient LEDs.

Any advice for other businesses?

Arif advised that thinking sustainably doesn’t have to be a burden for your business, despite common misconceptions. “It’s been really beneficial in reducing our waste, saving energy, looking after the planet, and contributing positively to our local communities.”

Supporting small business owners to become more sustainable, in simple and achievable ways is the key aim of what we do at Green Street.

Arif reflected on this, saying, “It is hard to act on things when day-to-day operations can be so busy, but Green Street has provided a real positive kick up the backside! It can be easy to allow these issues to go on the back burner, but having their support every step of the way and that level of support and commitment has really made me re-evaluate our sustainability approach for the entire business.”

Read more about what’s coming next for us at Green Street:


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