Energy & Recycling

Sand, sea, sustainability as WestBeach ditches 20k plastic cups in favour of green alternative

The senior Gaia team (left to right) Chris Bolton, Sarah Larkin, Matt Cosier and Nick Cooper with the compostable and biodegradable cups. Picture: Dorset Biz News.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: April 5, 2021 | Updated: 25th September 2021

As Bournemouth prepares for what could be one of its busiest summers on record a high-profile seafront restaurant has launched a major drive to cut down on its use of plastic.

WestBeach has partnered with Gaia Card, described as the UK’s first sustainable membership card, in the ‘20,000 Cup Challenge’.

It has agreed to swap at least 20,000 plastic drink cups for compostable and biodegradable cups this summer.

The beachside drinking and dining venue will also plant a tree for every drink served with gold standard charity Eden Reforestation Project.

It means that by the end of the summer, or even sooner, Gaia will be able to arrange the planting of at least 20,000 trees.

Matt Piovan, pictured left, Operations Director for WestBeach and Aruba, said: “We’ve always done recycling but this moves us to a new level.

“Our location right next to the sea means that we – more than anyone else – are aware of our impact on the environment and the importance of sustainability.

“We would normally expect to use about 20,000 cups over ten weeks but it could be less than that or, indeed, more depending on how the summer goes.”

As part of the ‘20,000 Cup Challenge’ the Gaia team will also be running weekly beach cleans outside WestBeach.

It is also providing compostable bins to make sure the waste is going to the correct waste management location.

Other partners in the campaign are Biopak, The Compost Network, Eden Reforestation Project and Beryl.

Nick Cooper, who co-founded Gaia with Matt Cosier, said: “We’re really excited about the 20,000 Cup Challenge.

“WestBeach is one of our partners and has a really high-profile location.

“The compostable and biodegradable cups don’t go in normal recycling but need to be collected and taken off to another site.

“It’s a real step forward towards a more sustainable future and fits perfectly with our ethos and values.”

As reported on Dorset Biz News, Gaia Card is a new way to enjoy goods and services from eco-friendly independent and local businesses – and give back to the planet at the same time.

Officially launched on March 21 it now has more than 70 partners – all hand-picked – ranging from coffee shops and restaurants to door-to-door delivery services and health and nutrition brands.

More are joining every week.

Card holders receive a membership login for the Gaia website and a sustainable birch, bamboo or cherry membership card.

The site features the latest partner discounts and special offers.

Members can then tap the Gaia card onto their mobile device.

They search for an offer and, once selected, can save money but also earn loyalty points and rewards.

In return Gaia will plant five trees a month for each member through a gold standard charity.

The Gaia Forest is being created in partnership with Eden Reforestation.

Gaia’s environmental commitment includes:

  • Plant 250,000 trees by 2023
  • Remove 1,000+ tonnes of C02 from the atmosphere through a partnership with Eden Reforestation Project
  • Keep local beaches clean with regular Gaia beach cleans starting this month
  • Invest £10,000, or more, into The Ocean Cleanup by 2023
  • Give back to wildlife trust and national reserves

Gaia is based in Bournemouth but the card goes across Dorset as well as the New Forest.

There are also 35+ online brands on the platform from across the UK.

Matt, 29, who has a Master’s degree in marketing from Bournemouth University and is the Founder and Creative Director of Big Influence Media, came up with the idea of Gaia in 2019.

He went for a drink with Nick, 26, Founder of event organiser Suddenly Funk, and both immediately agreed to turn the idea into reality.

Other senior members of the team include Chris Bolton, Director of Sustainability, and Sarah Larkin, Director of Campaigns and Community Projects.

Gaia is forging close links with Bournemouth University with further announcements expected soon.

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