Working with Packshare – Cambridge Junction

Cambridge Junction was one of the first businesses outside of Cornwall to get in touch with us about using Packshare to donate their waste. We were delighted to get their email, and anxious to help with their issue of raising awareness of Packshare in their local area to make sure they could connect with businesses to donate to.

In Cornwall we’ve started to take it for granted that there will be a nearby business signed up to receive packaging. But as Packshare grows, more and more businesses and individuals around the UK are seeing the benefits of donating their packaging and getting in touch to say that they need to find more businesses in their towns to donate it to!

Cambridge Junction is a multi-venue arts centre with an extremely varied range of performances, workshops and events happening every day. Located in the South West of Cambridge, the centre is housed in stylish modern architecture built in 1990 and expanded in 2005. Between their three venues – Junction 1, 2, and 3 – they host live music, comedy, theatre, dance , club nights, and a variety of other community-focussed activities.

They are a social enterprise, and reinvest over 50% of their profits back into the business and its social mission to promote:

  • Arts development and presentation (contemporary theatre and dance)
  • Popular culture (live music, comedy and clubs)
  • Creative Learning (skills development through the arts)

The venue is many things to many people, incorporating art, community and technology to provide a space which is safe and welcoming for everybody.

You could come here for a drum & bass club night, to watch a piece of modern circus, or attend computer coding workshop. Cambridge Junction is the venue where art and technology meets life.”

Unsurprisingly they also take their responsibility to the environment seriously, joining 100s of other arts and cultural organisations in April 2019 to officially declare a Climate Emergency, with an ultimate goal of reducing their emissions to net zero by 2025. They’re undergoing large-scale projects to make their practise and buildings more sustainable, but they also see the importance of smaller, faster, more community-focused solutions.

Aiming to reduce the 127,000 disposable glasses they used in their gig venue last year, they bought 5000 re-usable pint cups to replace them going into the future. Their new scheme asks customers to pay £1 deposit for the cup which they can reuse throughout the night and claim back when returned to the bar, or drop the cup in a special reuse bin when they leave to automatically donate the money to charity.

This has the potential for a massive reduction in plastic waste going forward, especially as they’ve coupled it with replacing all plastic water bottles at their bars for cardboard box ‘bottles’.

Additionally all staff have been issued re-usable water bottles while on shift, and the centre held a ‘mug amnesty’ amongst the staff to replace all mugs used in the building (which used to be primarily single use disposable ones) for real ones.

Cambridge Junction also holds a huge variety of community events, recently hosting A Toys Life’s toy-swap initiative Re-play. October’s event was a free to attend toy-swap augmented with debate, conversation and activities for all, and an opportunity to discuss the environmental impact of plastics and other materials used for toys. Re-play will be returning to Cambridge Junction in May.

To find out more about Cambridge Junction’s community events check here for their full schedule:

A Toys Life toy swap initiative Re-play returns to Cambridge Junction in May 2020

These links between community and environment are where Packshare fits in. As a large venue, Cambridge Junction receive a wide range of deliveries, from bar and cleaning supplies, publicity materials, through to interesting pieces of theatre sets or specific items for band riders. All of this arrives wrapped in packaging materials which are surplus to requirements as soon as they’re unwrapped.

Cambridge Junction recognise the potential of working with Packshare to donate this perfectly good packaging to businesses in their community, saving everybody money and keeping that packaging from being needlessly recycled or thrown away.

All that stands in their way is that they can’t find enough local businesses to donate it to. They’re so keen to donate it that one member of staff has been posting packaging to a company in the South West!

We want to get more businesses in Cambridge signed up to Packshare to receive free packaging:

  • Do you run (or know someone who runs) a small business who buys in mail-order packaging?
  • Do you want to save money and integrate your business more in your local community?
  • Do you want to build up mutually beneficial business relationships?
  • Do you want to do something to significantly reduce the amount of waste packaging in your area?

You can sign up your businesses to receive packaging (wherever you are in the UK) at

Find out more about the amazing work that Cambridge Junction are doing at:

You can also sign up to the Packshare mailing list to be the first to hear our news.

Working with Packshare

Working with Packshare – Carn to Cove

I met Claire from Carn to Cove earlier this year at an Eco Fair at Mount’s Bay Academy in Penzance. I’d heard of the organisation before, but I admit I hadn’t fully got my head how they work beyond a shaky understanding that they promoted theatre events in rural venues around Cornwall.

As Claire explained what they actually do, I loved what I heard. Carn to Cove are an Arts Funded creative hub – based in Redruth’s incredible Krowji Studios – with a network of volunteers around the County who host touring theatre and music performances in sports halls, chapels, and village halls around Cornwall. I was particularly tickled to hear that they even host events in Stoke Climsland – the village in North Cornwall that I grew up in.

Carn to Cove is part of Creative Kernow, the umbrella organisation that supports the production, promotion and distribution of work by creative practitioners in Cornwall.

If you live in rural Cornwall and enjoy theatre/music/performance, you’ve probably been to events that they’ve been involved in. Their MO is bringing high quality professional touring performances to rural communities. They also regularly host workshops which run alongside these performances which can range from mask making before a puppet show, dance workshops which can be performed as curtain raisers, to drama, music or singing workshops.

Carn to Cove operate by accepting applications from performers, curating their ‘menu’ of performances and offering them out to their network of promoters who pick and choose what they think will work in their community.

If you want to keep up to date with the shows they’re offering, sign up to their mailing list here:

What really floored me was the familiarity of it all. As some of the Packshare community know, I spent a lot of my 20s touring in a punk band, and this system of volunteer promoters hosting shows for the love of it and for the sake of getting performers into their community is exactly what I grew up with.

I was also delighted, but slightly surprised when Carn to Cove signed up to receive packaging through Packshare. I tend to think of Packshare as being an ideal solution for mailorder businesses, but I couldn’t instantly see the benefit to a company that promotes theatre performances.

Nikki & JD: Knot – September 2019

Until I realised that they post out promotional materials. Posters, flyers, DVDs. All of that needs to be posted from the office to the volunteers, and with over 70 performances already this year, it involves a decent amount of packaging.

And even more than in the retail sector, there is no reason at all for that packaging needs to be brand new.

It really hit me for the first time that Packshare is perfect for businesses who ship items between sites and premises. I know from experience that a lot of businesses already reuse packaging for their internal post, and Packshare is a simple way of telling people where to take their packaging for it to be reused.

Carn to Cove believe that the creative sector is in a position to lead the way, championing new and interesting ways to practise environmental sustainability. For an industry that prides itself on forward thinking, sustainability should be central to everybody’s practise. And when the product that you’re selling is a performance, there’s no need to have a big impact on the environment.

Creatives are expected to innovate, and by incorporating Packshare into the way they do business, Carn to Cove are demonstrating their commitment to reducing their footprint and helping to lead the way in Cornwall.

Carmen and Mimi: Smile – September 2019

Carn to Cove also know that innovations are best when they’re shared and are planning to deliver a series of sustainable practise skill-share events at Redruth’s creative hub Krowji to help artists and other small businesses share ideas and increase their knowledge and awareness of sustainability in the creative sector.

Here in Cornwall people always talk about how lucky we are to be surrounded by the coast and the scenery, but I’m constantly blown away by the amount of amazing schemes and opportunities, the wealth of creative talent, and the cultural drive towards sustainability which feels more genuine and practical than anywhere else in the country.

I hear visiting speakers shout time and time again that Cornwall is a world leader in sustainability. Determining the reason why always brings me back to something I read years ago from Kneehigh’s Mike Shepherd. He said “Cornwall is a place where you can make things happen”, which has stuck with me for so long because the longer I live here the more it seems so obviously true to me.

Like creating a network of volunteers to set up incredible theatre in village halls to make sure that everybody has access to creative performance. Like donating packaging to local businesses so that our little corner of the world isn’t overrun by waste, and to make sure that everybody benefits in the process. Cornwall is place where we make things happen because nobody else does it for us.

And I think our greatest export could be telling the rest of the world that they can make things happen where they are too.

Get in touch if you’d like to be involved with Packshare.

Find out more about Carn to Cove and Creative Kernow at:

You can also sign up to the Packshare mailing list or register your business to receive packaging.


Video – Packaging the Circular Economy

Co-founder Roo Pescod talks Packshare, business support from Tevi, and shares their vision for the future of packaging in the UK. Sarah from Falmouth’s wonderful Blink demonstrates exactly what Packshare is about.

We’re extremely excited and proud to share this video and our latest big news with you!

Tevi are an awesome EU Funded organisation in Cornwall, working to elevate Cornish businesses and simultaneously enhance the natural environment. We can’t recommend them enough to any Cornish business, and they’re doing incredible work in Cornwall at the moment. We’ve been working with them for almost a year now and they’re been really helpful introducing us to like-minded businesses, running interesting events, and providing a huge amount of encouragement and support.

As well as funding this video (created by Tom Turner at Paramore Productions) they are kindly funding a massive redevelopment of Packshare which will be released later this year!

We can’t thank everybody involved in this video enough.

If you’d like to keep up to date with what’s going on at Packshare, sign up to our mailing list.

For more information about Tevi and the work that they do, visit


Why Packshare?

I spend so much time explaining to people why we think Packshare is a no-brainer solution for small businesses that sometimes I even bore myself. I have had to apologise to my family and friends over and over for telling them the same information again and again.

Louisa and I talk about it all of the time but I realised that we haven’t actually written it down anywhere public. So as well as being a place to lay down our manifesto, this is a page that I can direct people to when I get a little too boringly passionate about Packshare.

Packshare helps you find local businesses to reuse your mailorder packaging. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for small businesses, and it’s good for our communities.

We started Packshare because Louisa used to work for a great shop called Willow and Stone in Falmouth, Cornwall. They sell iron mongery and other beautiful homewares, they’re independent, and they’re one of the shops that help to give Falmouth it’s unique character. They also have a great website, and they make a lot of their sales online.

Louisa spent a lot of time packing delicate, beautiful, awkwardly shaped things to make sure they would survive the journey through the postal service to their new owners. Willow and Stone get through a lot of packaging, and – because they’re awesome – they’ve always reused as much packaging as they can. They get plenty of well-wrapped deliveries, and all of the bubble wrap and cardboard that they come wrapped in can easily be reused to wrap up out-going deliveries.

Over time Louisa got into the habit of taking any personal packaging into work. Because she knew how useful it was to have different sized boxes, or a few extra packing peanuts, it made her working day easier. Before long all of the staff at Willow and Stone were doing the same.

So why do we need Packshare?

The problems are twofold:

1. Not every business has the capacity or business model to reuse all of the packaging it receives, or receives as much as it needs.

Many shops don’t sell online, or pack outgoing items, so all of the packaging their stock arrives in gets dumped out on the curb for recycling or refuse. All of that packaging gets thrown away because that one business can’t reuse it. You can tell these businesses by walking down your high street in the morning and seeing who’s putting out heaps of cardboard boxes, or bin liners full of bubble wrap.

I’m not judging those businesses, that’s the world we live in, and up until now there hasn’t been a better alternative. But the insanity of it is that there are often businesses on the same street who are buying in exactly the same packaging.

2. Most people don’t know a business they can take their old packaging to.

Because Louisa worked for Willow and Stone she knew exactly what was useful and what wasn’t. No business wants the wrong packaging, but most people in Falmouth probably don’t know the ins and outs of what happens in the Willow and Stone packaging room.

So how are we supposed to know if the packaging that we have would be useful to a business?

Those are the problems that Packshare solves.

If you run a business that buys in packaging, all you need to do is create a profile at and tell us what packaging you can reuse. You buy bubble wrap? Tick the box that says bubble wrap. That’s all you have to do.

Now when the business next door to you gets a delivery, or the eco-conscious guy who lives upstairs buys some shoes off e-bay, they can search Packshare by their postcode and the type of packaging that they have. Your business will pop up saying that you can use bubble wrap, and they can bring it to you.

The business next door saves money having to have it taken away, and they don’t have it sitting around waiting for collection. They can just walk it around to you. The guy upstairs doesn’t need to fill up his kitchen bin, or stuff it in with his plastic bottles assuming it’ll be recycled.

Everybody gets a warm fuzzy feeling of doing good for the environment, supporting a small local business, and from having the positive social interaction of giving something useful to someone who can use it.

Everybody wins. It’s a no-brainer.

Now imagine that happening in your town. Better still, imagine it happening in every town around the UK. Our towns are full of small businesses buying in packaging and other businesses paying to have the same packaging taken away.

If those businesses could work together we could vastly reduce the amount of packaging being created, recycled and incinerated. Councils would reduce the amount of recycling they needed to handle.

Small businesses, who give our towns their unique characters, could save money buying in packaging and having it taken away. This would make them more competitive and resilient, and more likely to survive against the tide of chain stores and big businesses.

It also means that local businesses can get some benefit from the huge consumer swing towards buying online.

It puts a little human interaction and community engagement into buying online. It means that you – the consumer – can buy a pair of shoes online and still contribute towards your local economy.

It empowers us all to do something small for our environment, our local businesses, and our communities.

Our long term aims

I’ve facetiously said that we want to be bigger than Twitter in 5 years, and I know it sounds crazy but it contains a little bit of truth. I don’t see any reason that packsharing packaging shouldn’t become the norm extremely quickly, particularly with renewed focus on our current climate emergency, and a surge of people actively searching for better ways to live more sustainably.

The truth is we want every small business in the UK to sign up to Packshare.

We want every shop, every restaurant, every ebayer, every artist, craftsperson and market seller.

All it takes is for businesses to sign up and tell people what they can reuse.

So sign up now at

Or join our mailing list at

Or follow us on social media at:


Penryn Raft Race 2019

I was so excited when I heard about the Penryn Raft Race.

When I was growing up my family had a rowing boat moored at Forder Creek in Saltash, so I spent a lot of evenings and weekends slowly and methodically exploring the beaches along the river Lynher. It seems doubly strange to me, after 15 years of living in Falmouth, how little time I’ve actually spent in the Harbour.

I swim, snorkel and surf in the ocean pretty regularly, but I’ve always thought of boating in the harbour as something that other people do. The raft race seemed like a great way to remedy that, but it also ticked some of my other excitement boxes.

Firstly I love a good craft challenge, and building a raft out of reused materials would be high up on my bucket list if I was the kind of person who had a bucket list. In fact I’d been kicking around an idea of hosting a Packshare Birdman competition for a few months – grabbing a load of business packaging and seeing what kinds of flying devices we could build, and how far we could fly them into the harbour – and this tickled the same part of my brain. We decided to go one further than the official brief of reused materials and build our raft entirely out of mail-order packaging available through Packshare.

Secondly I love that the event was jointly hosted by the FXU – Falmouth and Exeter Students Union – and the Penryn Town Council. Everyone knows the relationship between the universities and the local community is not always plain sailing, and this is exactly the sort of event I think we need to highlight the best of both sides. I’ve worked for the Universities for most of the past decade and I’m just as despairing at how unloveably they portray themselves as I am with the – tiny minority – of locals who dismiss the worth that students bring to our community.

Thirdly we shamelessly wanted the press, and the raft race is local press gold.

So we started by setting our Packshare profile to ask for bubblewrap. This meant that we would be flagged up to anyone in our area who was trying to get rid of bubblewrap through Packshare.

Next I went on a trawl of the town for a decent pallet. Falmouth has always had an amazing culture for scrounging free stuff, and I always start any search by just walking through town and wandering around the back streets. The serendipity of it can be truly amazing, and I’ve found at least two sofas when I needed them most. Currently we’ve got an office chair and wicker shelving unit which were street finds, and pallets are never in short supply.

I quickly found my dream pallet outside of Trago Mills and they kindly said I could take it. It was massive and relatively lightweight, ideal for raft building. You might rightly complain that pallets aren’t listed on Packshare, and while that is currently true, we’re currently overhauling the site and they will be available in the version 2.0 so I gave us a break.

Next we dropped into Willow and Stone and grabbed some plastic wrap that they couldn’t reuse, and I salvaged some printer-paper boxes from work – thanks FXPlus Library.

We cleverly decided to build it up at Falmouth’s own vegan eatery Satellite Café on Tregoniggie Industrial Estate partly because I wanted to scrounge some boxes from their neighbours Falmouth Cycles – who were wonderful and supplied most of the cardboard for the hulls – but also because the Satellite sausage rolls are out of this world.

So a few hours later we had four triangular prisms – Toblerone shaped – hulls made of cardboard which supported the weight of the pallet, and we’d had a very social afternoon being laughed at by friends and family about how stupid it was to build a raft out of cardboard.

We just about managed to fit all of this in the car, and lash the pallet back on the roof so we could drive it back to our garage.

The next building day we capped the hulls with more cardboard and water-proofed it with lashings of bubblewrap kindly donated by local artist – and Packshare raft crewman – Sam Bradbury.

The following day we got a knock on the door and a lovely guy from WeSUP – Gylly Beach based paddleboard/adventure company – had seen our request on Packshare and brought us a huge box of super-strong bubblewrap!

This takes us up to race day. We had no way to transport the fully constructed raft to the start-point of the race so we had to wait until that afternoon to fix it together. We spent the morning making seats out of the WeSUP bubblewrap and reinforcing the hulls with gaffer tape, and then we packed up the cars.

It was really exciting to drive down to the race and pass another team walking their raft down. They carried it like a coffin between the four of them and the whole thing looked extremely solemn. I guess they were as worried about their raft as we were about ours.

Seeing the other rafts for the first time was actually really reassuring. No shade, but seeing a team screwing a wooden frame and plastic milk bottles around an inflatable double mattress made me instantly realise were in the right of company for our cardboard and bubblewrap construction.

So an hour or so of frantic gaffer taping later we finally had a fully realised raft, and with more than a little apprehension we carried it down the steps and cautiously placed it in the water.

And what do you know, it floated!

And shortly after the race was on!

We placed first in our heat, successfully going through to the finals, but it was fairly evident that the Packshare Cantamaran – nicknamed by my brother – was ironically more of a single use vessel.

When we got back on the raft at the start line for the final race, It was so waterlogged that all four of us were already waist deep and once the crowd had finished counting us down to the starting whistle and we dug in our paddles we found it impossible to reach the dazzling speeds of the first heat. Added to that a ladybird landed on Louisa mid-race who felt the need to stop paddling and save it from drowning.

We placed 4th overall – last in the final – and felt like it was a fair result. We had a good frolic in the harbour and jumped off the Penryn bridge a few times to console ourselves.

All in all the day had a great vibe, the weather was perfect, and it was extremely gratifying to be paddling a raft that we’d made out of things that would otherwise just have been thrown away.

I think we managed to prove our point – that most mailorder packaging doesn’t need to be thrown away or needlessly recycled. There are loads of people who can reuse it just the way it is. It turns out that making a raft out of cardboard is a pretty stupid way to reuse it, but luckily Packshare can help you find businesses local to you who can put your old packaging to much better use.

Endless thanks to Abigail Simeoli and Amy James for being an amazing media team. All photos of the event are by them –

Thankyou Sam Bradbury and Amy Norris for joining us on our raft building/floating adventure.

Thanks to everyone who donated us packaging, and all the businesses who received it when we packshared it on.

If you’d like to stay up to date with Packshare, join our mailing list at


Working with Packshare

Working with Packshare – The Cornish Seaweed Company

To kick off our ‘Working with Packshare’ series of blogs, here’s the wonderful Cornish Seaweed Company who have been extremely supportive and enthusiastic about Packshare from the outset.

New for 2018 – 100% compostable packaging

New for 2018 – 100% compostable packaging

The Cornish Seaweed company have garnered a lot of national press over the past few years for championing the re-introduction of seaweed into the British diet. Already a household name in West Cornwall, further afield the company are regularly name-dropped by Michelin starred chefs, supply dozens of whole food stores around the country and are respected advocates for the nutrient-rich, environmentally sustainable superfood that is seaweed. Recently they’ve been featured on the BBC’s Back To The Land with Kate Humble and published The Seaweed Cookbook – a guide to edible seaweeds and how to cook with them.

Since being named Cornish Business of the Year in 2015 and Best Contribution Towards Creating A Sustainable Food Economy in the Cornwall Sustainability awards, the small team of Seaweeders have relocated to larger premises in Gweek and honed their processes to keep up with the growing demand for their products.

Harvested seaweed

Sustainability is at the core of what the Cornish Seaweed Company is about. From locally hand harvesting on a 1 mile stretch of Cornish coast, to brand new 100% compostable packaging, their environmental ethos really does run through everything they do, which already includes re-using mail-order packaging whenever they can. We are very excited to have them on board with Packshare.

From a packaging point of view, their challenges are fairly mild. They mostly pack durable pre-packaged seaweed in cardboard boxes of various sizes. They sell to national distributors and individuals through their website so handle various sized orders requiring a variety of sized cardboard boxes from big to very small. They also sell bottled kelp tablets (containing a natural source of iodine which helps regulate metabolism) and tubs of Cornish Seaweed Salt, a collaboration with the Cornish Sea Salt Company.

Boxed up seaweed to be posted out

By signing up to Packshare, Cornish Seaweed are taking an extra step towards a sustainable future. With their product packaging already compostable and recyclable, they’re always on the lookout for better solutions, and what could be more sustainable than reusing other people’s waste packaging?

Why go through the effort of recycling cardboard when a local business can reuse it? Less landfill, less new packaging being produced, and it supports your local businesses. You can do something tangible today.


Find the Cornish Seaweed Company online at