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Sunday, 16 December 2018

Not the death of the high street - just a whole new way of shopping in person ( NOT just via the internet!! )

Overly wordy title …… in a period of transition of recession which a decade in is showing no real signs of letting up. The death of our high streets? Death of shopping rituals? Death of materialism? With the media highlighting reduced footfall in November shopping and lead up to end of the year etc. Is it the end of the High Street?

HIGHLY UNLIKELY: Our livelihoods as communities have been the post offices, congregating in pubs, meeting up in the shopping high street. The corner shops may be a thing of the past - yet many reclamation entities (be it council recycling centres, industry reclamation centres, or volunteer scavenger crews storing their finds in a safe place for you to visit!) can be a potential part of a 21st century High Street which embodies the circular economy.

The materialism in the western world of the 1970's (products creating false status) and 1980's (making something big out of very little') has spiked our 'waste productivity' with some partical improvement in 1990's and 2000's seeing some consumers demand a need for organic, Fair Trade and fair deal social responsibility products..... yet the waste mountains are still accruing big time!!!

The end point ………….

Waste Food   This is not just about 'I did a responsible thing putting my waste food in the caddy' - what if more composting could be done on an individual home basis? Creating 1000's of micro compost producing homes which could make very strong use of the end-product for local community planting projects, or adding more nutrient to your own garden or in-house plant pots. What if communities were the feeding point to local gardening shops to top up their compost/soil requirements as part of their procurement process?

Waste Textiles  The 'secret life of landfill' documentary where 1980's garments discarded to landfill look almost brand new (hence they will take a very long time to decompose!) Yet with clothing in contemporary 2010's having a 'shelf life' of barely 3 years before they degrade, become unwoven and quickly discarded …. still much must be done.

Waste White/Grey Goods Now many scarp dealers go around in vans looking for discarded fridges, tv's etc. which they'll recover - sell for parts, or recondition and sell as a whole. Much of this does challenge safety, challenge legalities, or licensing, or safe disposal/recovery protocol - yet if you are able to innovate an angle for improving longevity of products with minimal or zero breakdowns - this will sustain your products. Yet will it sustain industry? As they need customers to keep coming back - the sooner the better …. or is this forced economics that demand buy, buy, buy - not a more socially/environmental acceptable process of buy, use, make it last (forever?) !!!!

Employment: Can posts be created to support the most vulnerable? the homeless? the violated?

The starting point ……...

New economy / new sustained growth / new era of shopping? Many feel 'the young' do everything online, so they'll order 3 pairs of jeans from multiple purchase points - which means possibly 3 different delivery waggons bringing it to your front door - which after you try them on you will discard and return 2 pairs of the jeans. This is a significant amount of fuel/resource to ensure you got what you wanted - 'when back in the day' you'd go into town and have a look at what you wanted to purchase, try it on - do everything there & then in the shop!

Many High Street local shops may claim a reduced footfall compared to previous years and they believe the younger professional demographic is not supporting their businesses as say regular traditional families may have done.

Many shops are leading the way with ZERO packaging, ZERO delivery service, ZERO tolerance for wastage! The chicken and egg scenario plays here with who leads by example - industry/commerce - or the client/customer?

This is a transitional era of the 2020's and 2030's as many discard materialism for social status, yet purchase 'quietly' from strands that offer quality, longevity, ethical sourcing and guaranteed end disposal safety (i.e. zero waste). There is a still a long way to go though on innovating the perfect international formulae of buying/selling/use/disposal/circular economy.

Localisation is the focal point for now, the holistically developed (- or evolved) good practise is understood, categorised then reproduced on a larger nationwide, then international arena. So just focus on your own tiny area (be it village, town or city).

Totally clean procurement, raw extraction, processing, distribution, retail point, disposal life cycle of any product still has a long way to be genuinely zero carbon. Obviously we are a little way off of having electric lorries/trucks - yet they will be mainstream by the 2030's (particularly with pressure groups slowly winning with voicing air toxicity levels in city centres!) - what else can do to improve air quality directly in High Streets? More trees? more planters?

So? The 2020's, 2030's, 2040's are looming ….

What can you do?

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