Reducing our Footprint
The Melting Pot believes in keeping our carbon footprint as low as possible, as well as helping our members and events customers minimise their impact on the environment. The earth’s resources are finite and we owe it to future generations to be responsible and do what we can now. At The Melting Pot, we do this in several ways:
Accessible, Sustainable Location
We deliberately chose a city-centre location to make it easy to get here by public transport. We occupy the top floor of Thorn House, which is a building owned by the Ethical Property Company. Our neighbours include charities, 'not-for-profit' organisations and other social enterprises.
The entire four-storey building has been retrofitted to exacting environmental standards, including motion sensors for lighting, recycled wooden flooring, modern gas central heating, double-flush toilets, and insulated and double glazed windows that actually open (ie no energy-sapping air-conditioning). The building’s service and utility providers are green and ethical operations. When it comes to catering, we use local, fair trade, organic produce and ethical, local suppliers wherever possible.
We have also designed The Melting Pot to be as accessible as possible for everyone, including lift access, an accessible toilet, an infra-red hearing assistance system and baby-changing facilities.
Back in the heady days of 'opening' in 2007 a team of 120 volunteers fitted out our space in just 10 days, using eco-friendly, mostly recycled and re-used materials and furniture. This includes everything from our bespoke leaf shaped desks made from recycled cardboard and hardboard to the smart, café style seats covered with cast-off "Letts Diary" material. We cleaned, repaired and refitted recycled, sponsored and donated tables, chairs, filing cabinets and other office equipment to give The Melting Pot its distinctive "eco-funky" look.
Although we retrofitted the space using 90% recycled and used materials, the quality of these items are 'as good as new' and ensures our venue is practical and professional, as well as kind to the planet. Over the years we've added a few new details, but the policy of functional re-use stays the same.
We used locally sourced recycled and used furniture from a range of auctions, donors and other social enterprises. For example, the "Letts Diary" covering on the banquette seating, and the cork strips for the notice boards, came from Bits and Bobs in Edinburgh and all of the wood in the shelves and other fixings came from The Wood Works – a wood recycling social enterprise. The seating is made from an old Edinburgh Festival stage, while our lovely wooden floor came from a school gym in Fife. The tables in the workshop space are made of money: old Bank of England banknotes and recycled plastic car headlights
Before we placed a single table or chair, we held participatory design sessions to find out what people in our target community wanted and needed. The result is an efficient and flexible workspace, including informal breakout and meeting areas, places to make private phone calls, and the all-important tea, coffee and kitchen facilities. We even have a fish tank!
Put simply, our space works. It allows our members to work on their own and to connect in a sociable yet productive environment. As one member, Hannah Smith of Better World Books, said, "… even visiting the bathroom is a thought-provoking experience!"
Recycling and Reducing Waste
We encourage everyone in The Melting Pot to recycle card, compost, glass, tins and paper in the bins provided, and we provide chilled bottles of tap water to avoid using plastic bottles.
We’re not finished yet. As the years go by, who knows what other ideas will be able to emerge: roof gardens, rainwater harvesting, seasonal menus...?
Why not learn how you can reduce your own, or your organisation’s, carbon footprint by browsing the selection of links on working sustainably?