Recently, we’ve been looking at zero waste shops. We’ve taken a look at what exactly ‘zero waste’ means, and how to make the most of your local zero waste shops. We thought that it would be good fun to talk to some local zero waste shop owners, real heroes of the zero waste movement, and see what they had to say about it all.
Read on to find out more about what our zero waste heroes had to say!
The Friendly Shop in Italy.
The first thing that we asked our zero waste shopkeepers was ‘what made you take the decision to start your own business?’. Perhaps it’s not all that surprising that all of our shopkeepers were motivated to start a zero waste business out of concern for the planet and the amount of plastics that we are generating. Most of our zero waste shopkeepers went on a zero waste journey of their own before starting their own shop.
"I think that zero waste shops can help raise awareness about the plastic pollution and about the environmental problems in general and I really do think that we can make the difference through the products we retail and through the open conversion we are having as well."
"After trying to live plastic free for a year it was almost impossible because every plastic-free alternative I found arrived wrapped in plastic! As I don't live in a big city I figured if this was happening for me then it was happening for others too! That's when I decided to start Plastic Freedom and create an online store with loads of exciting alternatives which made living plastic-free fun, easy and would all arrive in NO PLASTIC PACKAGING!" Beth Noy plastic freedom
and Olive from Twig says...
"We have been in the independent wholefood shop business for 15 yrs where we provide a Refill service on a very small scale so when the perfect premises became available we expanded our service as we also care deeply about the impact of single use plastic and over use of packaging on our planet."
"I, like many people, had a total awakening around the amount of waste we are creating, and wanted to be able to shop differently. I couldn't do this where I lived, so started BYO!"
Laura from BYO
Waste Not, Want Not in Bridport.
We know as much as anyone how difficult running your own business can be. Like us though, our zero waste shop owners love what they do! We wanted to find out more about exactly what it is that they loved the most, so we asked…
“I love that I can support small businesses...and that they really believe in having a positive impact.”
“I also love to see customers changing their habits thanks to what they bought in our shop.”
“Knowing every single purchase made from me has stopped a plastic alternative being purchased”.
“Building our own family brand, making organic products and package free products available and helping support our planet”.
Hetu, Vegan Zero Waste Shop.
For some people visiting a zero waste shop for the first time can be an unusual experience. There are all the containers to remember to bring, things are sold by weight, it can be a confusing experience the first time around! We took a look at how you can make the most of your local zero waste shop in this blog, but we thought we’d ask the experts.
When we put this to our zero waste heroes they looked at it from two main angles, practical and community.
The most common practical tips were to bring your own container and plan ahead for the week. Being prepared, and knowing what you are likely to need for the week ahead, helps you to do a more efficient shop and should help you to cut down on those trips to the supermarket for those little bits everyone forgets.
One of the really interesting things to come out of our chats with zero-waste shop owners was the importance of community. In order to make the most of your local zero waste shop, it has to exist! It can only exist, if people use it. Not only are zero waste shops great news for the environment, they are also great for the community. Shopping in a zero waste manner takes more time than simply filling your basket at the supermarket, this way you get to meet your neighbours, and make new friends!
The Refill Room in Essex
Using your local zero waste shop is a great start on your journey to low waste living. But how can you take the attitude of low-waste shopping into your everyday life? The zero waste shop keepers that we spoke to had loads of great tips on low-waste living!
Think before you buy! I always think 'do I really need this' or 'is there a more eco option out there' and it's amazing what you can find when you live that way. I also make sure I'm prepared with reusables wherever I go!
Be organised, look at that 1 container and think "how can I reuse this"
Don't beat yourself up, make small changes, make ones that are realistic and you can make permanent in your normal life.
Of course, we couldn’t speak to zero waste shop owners without asking them what their best selling products are.
There is a whole range of products that are packaging free and can help you have a low-waste lifestyle but overall the most popular products were everyday essentials. Products such as bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, and deodorants were often mentioned as the best sellers. Seems such a simple but important step, making these everyday essentials plastic free!
Food products, such as peanut butter and local honey, were also popular. Products such as these, made with local ingredients and often free from environmentally damaging ingredients such as Palm Oil are loads better than anything you can get in the supermarket. Sold in recyclable plastic-free containers, there’s no reason not to treat yourself to a drop of delicious local honey.
Thanks to the following zero waste shops for taking part:
The Refillery Edinburgh - https://www.facebook.com/therefilleryedinburgh/
BYO London - https://byo.london/
Plastic Freedom - https://www.plasticfreedom.co.uk
The Friendly Shop (Italy) - https://friendlyshop.it/
Hetu (Vegan Zero Waste Store) - http://www.hetu.co.uk/
Waste Not Want Not (Bridport) - http://wastenotwantnotbridport.co.uk/