When it comes to environmental protection, the food industry and in particular the retail sector seem to have been left behind. Supermarkets are responsible for producing thousands of tones of plastic packaging each year and our country is faced with a growing food waste challenge.
So how do we do it?
We want to be as transparent as possible with all our customers and this is why we have decided to let you glimpse at what happens behind the scenes through this article.
Zero Waste and You
Zéro, just like all other zero waste shops, offers a sustainable shopping option to mindful customers who are not satisfied with the current standards of the food retail industry. We aim to be the answer to the increasing demand for more sustainable practices in supermarkets and local food stores and to present a satisfying alternative for grocery shopping. Our shop’s first ‘raison d’être’ is to enable you to reduce the amount of waste you bring home from your weekly shopping run. By encouraging our customers to bring their own containers to refill in the store, we reduce the need for single-use packaging to zero.
Zero waste shopping is also a great way to reduce food waste by purchasing the exact quantity of goods one requires.
In that sense we are proud to say ‘yes’, with a little bit of organisation it is truly zero waste.
What about us?
Of course, as we don’t produce the goods we sell in the shop, we have to get them delivered to us in some form of packaging. This does not necessarily mean waste will be created down the line and from day one we have built our model to make sure that we produce as little waste as possible.
From producers to wholesalers and delivery companies, we always make sure every agent involved in our business model will participate to the waste reducing effort. It is important for us to use reputable suppliers that we can trust and we know will agree with our core values. Each new supplier is therefore selected very carefully to make sure their ethos is in line with these values (sustainability, effort to reduce waste, environmental awareness).
Our products are delivered to us in different types of containers, listed below in order of preference:
No packaging. The local suppliers we work with are the best at delivering goods without packaging. For example all our Wrapperware products are delivered to the shop directly by creator Wendy who brings all her beautiful makeup pads, beeswax wraps and other napkins directly to us as they are.
Return scheme. Some suppliers offer to collect the containers the goods are delivered in once they are empty and refill them. This closed loop system is definitely our preferred option for larger suppliers and we are pleased to say that this models applies to all our SESI household products and Cole&Co toiletries as well as our Cotswold Gold rapeseed oil and honey jars which we ask customers to bring back to the shop once empty and give back to our bee keeper to reuse.
Paper bags and cardboard boxes. When no return and refill scheme is available we look for goods packaged in recycled and recyclable packaging such as paper and cardboard. This is the case with most of our dried products such as grains, pulses and baking products which all come to us in 25kg paper sacks. The sacks and cardboard boxes are then reused in the shop for various purposes or sent to recycling.
Plastic packaging. Unfortunately, some smaller items still come to us in plastic bags. In order to reduce the environmental impact of these product we use the services of a specialised recycling company called First Mile who recycle them when we cannot reuse them in the shop.
Whenever we are not satisfied with the type of packaging used for the products we have selected for the shop, we always ask our suppliers if they would consider alternative solutions. Some of them have changed their ways since we opened the shop in 2019 and when there was no alternative we have often turned to different products or suppliers.
We hope this answers some of the questions you might have about zero waste shopping and we will continue to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible!