Leafy Seadragon Refill Co. Ltd are cousins, Rachel and Emily, who live in Hornsea, East Riding of Yorkshire.
After watching TV programmes like The Blue Planet and War on Plastic and helping at many beach cleans in Hornsea, we felt the need to change our habits and to strive to live in a more sustainable way.
But it was hard!
Everywhere we shopped products were wrapped in unnecessary single use packaging or were filled with harmful chemicals. Even our 'no bags' deliveries came wrapped in plastic! Was it really necessary to put our bananas and peppers in a plastic bag?
We found there was little or no opportunity to shop sustainably in our area. The nearest refill shop to us was in York (1 hr away) and the plastic free alternatives online or on the high street were so very expensive.
We were on a mission to make it easier and cheaper to do the right thing.
Why Leafy Seadragon?
Marine life is suffering because of pollution. In search of inspiration for our company name, we searched for quirky sea creatures and we stumbled across the leafy seadragon. We had to check if they actually exist?!
Native to the oceans around south and east Australia, leafy seadragons are ornately camouflaged so they blend in with the seaweed and kelp formations they live amongst. Closely related to seahorses and pipefish, it struck us how they could easily be mistaken for floating plastic in the ocean.
We then found the very talented artist Cindy Lane and asked if we could buy her illustration of the most beautiful leafy seadragon for use in our logo.
Cindy's generosity by allowing us to use her artwork free of charge, her encouragement and faith in what we wanted to achieve was the spur that we needed to follow our dream. Follow Cindy on social media @cindylaneart where she shares therapeutic videos of her creations.
In October 2019 we launched our crowdfunder and on 6th November 2019 we successfully raised £10,981 with 140 supporters in 28 days. Shortly after we received a further £500 in sponsorship from The Deep.
Thanks to our fantastic supporters and NatWest Back Her Business for match funding, we were able to launch our delivery service on 27th March 2020.
After our crowdfunder finished, the world somewhat changed. People no longer wanted to go out shopping with bags full of empty containers to refill. So during lockdown in March 2020, we started a contactless doorstep delivery service of our products in paper bags and re-purposed bottles. Although paper bags and re-purposing bottles was a Earth-friendlier option, it still created waste.
How could we make it better?
In July 2020 we launched our fully circular delivery service - LESS WASTE, LESS EFFORT.
We are in the process of renovating a shop on Newbegin in Hornsea which we hope to be open in the summer of 2021.
As part of their Make a Difference series, BBC Radio Humberside shared a video, which was then shared on Facebook by BBC East Yorks & Lincolnshire. The video has been viewed by many people worldwide and we have been asked for advice from people wishing to start something similar in many different countries. If you would like any help or advice, please contact us.
Government figures show that a total of 171,529 tonnes of waste was collected from residents in East Yorkshire between April 2016 and March 2017. This equates to around 110,000 tonnes being recycled and 60,000 tonnes going to landfill.
The people who shop with us are doing a fantastic job of reducing that figure.
(period April 2020-end of March 2021)
Our mission is to reduce the effect of pollution on our planet by enabling people to shop in a way which is kind on the environment, their pocket and their time.
We would love for you to join us and help clean up our planet for future generations.
Together we can make a difference!