Sustainable Small Business Powerhouse: BioRegional Development Group

This UK small business is moving along many fronts to implement its vision: a network of regional industries based on sustainable land-use, providing fulfilling employment and maintaining biodiversity.

BioRegional’s MiniMill is a small-scale mill which pulps locally-grown non-wood fibers such as hemp, flax, jute, wheat or rice straw. It enables any country to use local fiber resources and people, reducing the pressure on forests, providing employment, and cutting transport costs associated with global warming. Its clean, energy efficient, closed loop totally chlorine-free technology can readily be transferred to countries where small pulp mill pollution is a serious problem. Besides BioRegional Development Group, shareholders include six leading paper companies and the WorldWide Fund for Nature International.

The group’s latest project marks the first time a local UK authority sold land to a developer that offers more environmental benefit than money. Dubbed the “Zero Energy Development,”(ZED) BDG is building a sustainable urban village on a reclaimed landfill site in South London. It will house 300 people in 90 apartments, maisonettes and houses, as well as 20-30 businesses. Building features include solar-powered, grass-roofed structures using advanced energy efficiency technology. Local materials will be used in construction.

The project leaves 50 acres for lavender fields, wetlands and community forests. This “working ecology park” will supply ZED’s fuel for heat and electricity, treat its wastewater and be home to a local food growers co-operative.

One of its other projects is the production of the first UK grown pure hemp (in generations) for fabric. The company completed a test trial and is now working with industry and farmers to establish textile production from these crops.

Contact the BioRegional Development Group and visit their website: http://www.bioregional.com

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