Zero Waste Shops were a mystery to me, but having taken on #PlasticFreeJuly I decided to jump in and tackle one of the major plastic producing parts of my life, food shopping.
As a clumsy girl my main concern was the self serve, what if I spill rice all over the shop? What if I don’t know the names of the types of flour? What if the soap I’m buying is a million times more expensive?
So I gathered up some clean take away containers and glass sauce jars from the back of the cupboard and off I went to my nearest zero waste shop, reusable bag in hand.
Buying only the quantity you need, in containers you already have, no excess piles of plastic bags and packaging left over. Couldn’t be easier. And all the stuff in the picture below cost less than £9 – cheaper than my supermarket! (Granola and dried fruit is especially expensive these days!) I got:
1 huge bag of granola (last me 6-7 breakfasts!)
Small pot of lentils I needed for a curry.
Pasta to feed four
Deliciously dark organic Cocoa powder
Peppercorns for my pepper mill
Risotto rice for four
I had planned to do some baking, but as I don’t do it much I didn’t want to get a bag of cocoa powder that would just sit in the back of the cupboard. The Zero Waste Shop ended up being perfect for this. The lady in the store was so supportive and patient with me, very kindly looking over the fact I just scattered cocoa powder over her nice clean shop. She talked me through how to get labels for my containers, the importance of weighing them first and easy swaps to start with.
Alongside the good quality food, what a beautiful shop it was! Aside from everything being laid out neatly and well labelled, there was more than just food and refills on offer. Gorgeously smelly bars of soap (no packaging), shiny new reusable water bottles and lunch boxes and homemade cleansing pads made locally from scraps of colourful material. Shaving bars, bamboo toothbrushes, plastic free cotton buds – I was like a kid in an eco-friendly candy shop.
The atmosphere was lovely too; people popping in to say hi, filling up a reusable bottle from the milk machine for their afternoon cuppa, getting pasta for their dinner or simply having a browse to see what’s new. A few were exchanging tips and tricks. Bright, airy and friendly… everything the modern supermarket isn’t. A thoroughly enjoyable and stress-free experience! (The most stressful part was deciding if I wanted dried apricots or banana chips in my last empty container)
So zero waste in three simple steps:
Weigh your container.
Serve what you need.
Scan and Pay.
If you’ve used a zero waste shop before, what did you think? If you haven’t yet, what’s stopping you?