Eco grants help businesses reduce costs by going greener

Two businesses are becoming more environmentally sustainable and reducing their costs at the same time after receiving eco grants of over £1000 between them from Telford & Wrekin Council.

Eco grants help businesses reduce costs by going greener

EightySix’d in Ironbridge and The Little Green Pantry in Wellington are using the funding to become more eco friendly and save money during the cost of living crisis.

The eco grant, which was recently repackaged to offer greater support during these challenging times, is part of the Pride in Our High Street revive and thrive programme which supports sustainable projects and encourages high street businesses to adopt a ‘greener’ approach.  

The new funding is split into two grants which can both help businesses to save money.

Grants of up to £1,500 are offered through the first grant which enables businesses to acquire energy saving and eco-friendly products.

The second grant offers funding of up to £5,000 towards the cost of ceiling or wall insulation which can reduce workplace overheads.

Popular café EightySix’d in Ironbridge has used a £654 eco grant towards a more efficient new ice machine to save energy and move away from the use of plastic refillable bags for ice cubes which cannot be recycled.

The café has also invested in more tea pots to reduce reliance on plastic teabags which do not decompose.

Lidded glass storage containers, which can be stacked and allow for better cold air flow when stored in the refrigerator, have also helped the cafe cut down on plastic storage bags and cling film wrapping,

EightySix’d owners Molly and Andy said: “I think these eco grants are fantastic and really support businesses which are trying to become more energy efficient and save money.

“The funding has certainly helped us to introduce eco-friendly and energy saving measures in our café, so I’d encourage businesses who are interested to apply.”

Meanwhile, The Little Green Pantry on Crown Street in Wellington, has received a £500 eco grant to offer sustainable packaging solutions and broaden the range of products it offers in the shop.

The award winning zero waste store sells loose dried food and household refill products, as well as biodegradable and reusable toiletries.

Owner Keli King has used the grant to buy more ‘plastic free’ refills for products which customers have requested.

She has purchased new stainless steel oil and vinegar fustis with taps on which contain sunflower oil, sesame oil, garlic oil, apple cider vinegar on tap and dried beans as well as more jars for customers to fill up with their favourite products.

Keli has also used the cash to buy new shelving to house the storage containers and range of expanding products.

She said: “I’m really grateful to Telford & Wrekin Council for the eco grant which has been a huge help, enabling me to buy more eco-friendly storage products and jars for customers to use as refills which are a great alternative to plastic.

“I’m aiming to offer an extra 22 new products as refills to help more people reduce plastic waste in their weekly shop and I couldn’t have done it without this financial support.”

Through the first grant, energy saving products can include energy efficient dishwashers, fridges, freezers and coffee machines and water saving toilets.

Businesses can also use the funding to purchase smaller items such as smart plugs, energy saving extension leads, draft excluders and energy saving power meters.

Programmable thermostats which only use energy when needed as well as LED light panels can also be funded through the grant which can help to reduce electricity significantly.

The grant will also offer a package of proactive support which provides guidance and helps business owners to complete their grant application

As with the existing eco grant, all applications will be reviewed and evaluated by the council’s Business Support team and approved by the Cabinet Member lead for Pride in Our High Streets.   

Once funding has been awarded, business owners will need to submit evidence of how they have spent the money to buy new products or complete energy saving related projects.

A list of recommended local suppliers in Telford and Wrekin will be made available to eligible businesses.

Councillor Lee Carter (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, Regeneration and the High Street, said: “During the cost of living crisis businesses need to become more sustainable and make tough cost saving decisions.

“Becoming more eco-friendly is not only beneficial for the environment but it can also help businesses to reduce their energy costs and monthly spend.

“This eco grant is just one way we are supporting local businesses and we remain committed to providing financial assistance to support sustainable projects which can make all the difference.”

Products purchased through the eco grant must lead to a permanent change to the business, so if plastic free packaging is introduced it must be sustained after all the grant has been used.

Councillor Carolyn Healy (Lab) Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Green Spaces, Natural and Historic Environment and Cultural Services, said: “These eco grants are helping businesses to become more sustainable, reduce their costs and have a positive impact on our planet at the same time.

“Many high street businesses are already looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprints and this grant certainly supports them with their plans.”

You can find out more about eco grants and other revive and thrive grants here.

Photo: Cllr Carolyn Healy, right, with EightySix'd owners Andy and Molly.