Downtown London - News

August 2018

  • Reimagine Co. building up London’s zero-waste focus

    August 14, 2018

    Reimagine Co. building up London’s zero-waste focus

    By Sean Meyer


    After wrapping up his efforts leading the city’s successful 100 in One Day event, Heenal Rajani decided to look for not only his next project, but a way to further engage Londoners in making a difference in the community.


    Turns out, he found both those passions engaged in the effort to further the mission of Zero Waste Forest City, a group that aims to empower individuals to make better informed, earth-conscious choices.


    This led Heenal to launch an enterprise under the name Reimagine Waste. 


    This was a bid put forward for the city’s Neighbourhood Decision Making process. It was really a collaboration, Heenal explains, to build upon the efforts of Zero Waste Forest City — of which he is a member — and bring people together under this banner of Reimagine Waste.


    “I saw people wanting to get involved in something, something grassroots, something that could make a difference every day,” he said. “We’d always had this dream of a community centre, a community space, where people could come and do things, turn ideas into reality, and just hang out. So, all these things came together, the possibility of funding, the possibility of this space, that there was a real hunger for this.”


    Reimagine Co. — which developed out of Reimagine Waste — is a pop-up community hub that will be open for three months and will provide a demonstration space for the growing “zero waste” movement in London. 


    The space, located at 211 King St., will host a range of activities — such as workshops, demonstrations and even film screenings — designed to share information and spark conversations about living more sustainably. The space is also home to an Art Hub, which focuses on taking waste and turning it into art.


    It seems a large number of Londoners agreed as the Reimagine Waste idea won the Central Region vote by a fairly wide margin, resulting in $8,000 of city funding to get the project up and running.


    Reimagine Co. is home base for the zero-waste store Naked where people can buy products in bulk. 


    Customers can bring their own containers to buy things like shampoo, shower gels and soaps, in bulk. They can purchase reusable lunch containers and bags, straws, produce bags, feminine hygiene products, and even bamboo toothbrushes.


    Heenal has spent most of his 18 months in London working out of Innovation Works, he and his wife love visiting Covent Garden Market and they actually live a 15-minute walk from the former Novacks space Reimagine Co. now calls home.


    With that in mind, he enthusiastically adds it was “very clear” where they had to set up shop.


    “This downtown has a lot of potential. There are a lot of changes already happening. My wife tells me that for 40 years they’ve been trying to revitalize downtown, it’s not a new thing, but I have a feeling it’s happening,” Heenal said. “There is no community centre in this part of the city, so the need was there. It has such a supportive environment . . . which helps too.” 


    There is the zero-waste store, the workshops, which are about different ways of consuming, but Heenal said Reimagine Co. is “a bigger idea.”


    The response to that idea has been far more positive than he could have imagined and extends beyond it being a retail destination.


    “We’ve had a lot of people asking to get involved, to volunteer, asking how they can host workshops, and we have to say, ‘Woah, woah, woah,’” he said. “We want to be inclusive, we want to bring people on — its great people want to be a part of this — but we don’t know how people can be involved yet, we’re still figuring that out.”


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