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Playopolis Board Game Café

22nd September 2021

Playopolis Café, in Rochester, is a welcoming space for everyone, where you can enjoy something to eat and drink while you play unusual or well-known board games from the café’s extensive inhouse collection.

Since opening 5 years ago, business partners, Rebekah and Charlotte (whose other job is in renewable energy) have always felt strongly about making Playoplolis as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible.

No plastic bottles of water here!

Knowing the issues of plastic waste ending up in our waterways and oceans, they are adamant they will not sell bottled water in the café. Instead, they have a machine that pours cold filtered water that they sell to customers for 25p which they donate to the marine conservation society.

A café built on upcycling and recycling

The café’s furnishings are a lovely mix of upcycled stuff the team own, and items sourced from charity shops. The pair are currently reupholstering old chairs from Freecycle and have chosen organic cotton with their logo on to cover them.

Even a lot of their 600+ board games have been given a second lease of life and have come from eBay, charity shops and friends. When a game comes to the end of its shelf life, the team take them to a local charity shop. However, if the games are not in condition for charity shops to sell, the team salvage any pieces they can. These salvaged pieces can be used for spares or take centre stage at creative events where people are invited to “Make your own board game” using these recycled pieces! Ever creative, they have also used salvaged pieces for artwork, and finally when all other options are exhausted, they recycle what they can!

Of course, the café has many new games as well, and the team particularly welcome efforts from suppliers like Big Potato to go plastic free.

Green response to the pandemic

During the pandemic the team adapted and offered takeaway refreshments. Keen to be environmentally friendly despite the challenging situation, they made sure all the packaging down to the cutlery was either biodegradable or recyclable.

Sustainable suppliers preferred

Most of the café’s wholesale suppliers deliver in recyclable cardboard, however the local baker who makes their delicious cakes, goes a step further and brings them in a reusable container each week. The café’s chosen tea supplier is Monteas from Wales, chosen for fabulous flavour and easily recyclable paper packaging.

The team take great pride in trying to recycle as much as possible. On a weekly basis they fill two 240 litres bins of recycling – much more than goes in the non-recycling bin.

It doesn’t stop there: the café’s energy supplier, Octopus Energy, was chosen because of their dedication to trying to make energy better for the environment and in turn all of us!

As far as greener cleaning is concerned, the team refill washing liquid rather than individual bottles and use a lot of washable cloths and tea towels which they take home to wash rather than using disposable options.

Rebekah Jordan, owner, says “We are hugely community focussed and have put our hearts and souls into Playopolis and hope it feels like a safe space for every single person who visits us. We are doing what we can to be as sustainable as possible within food safety parameters because the environment is as important to us.”

Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy said “It’s really impressive how far this small team are prepared to go to develop a business with sustainability as well as community at its core. Even when faced with the challenges of the pandemic, they’ve made good choices for the environment. I am delighted to welcome them to the Estuary Visionary scheme, and I hope their example inspires others.”

Find out more: www.playopoliscafé