If you have heard of zero waste shops but feel a bit confused or intimidated by the concept, here is a quick guide for absolute beginners!
First, put aside all your preconceptions and prejudices. No, ‘zero waste shopping’ does not necessarily mean carrying 5kg of glass jars with you on each visit to the store!
Here is a way to discover zero waste shopping, step by step:
Step 1: your first visit
If you’re not sure what to bring, you can just come as you are!
At Zéro, we have:
Recyclable paper bags (free)
Reusable fabric bags with a long lifespan (for sale, available in different sizes)
Reusable small jars (free) and bottles (for sale) for liquid products.
All of these are light and easy to transport!
Your first visit is also a great opportunity to make note of the products we have, especially the ones you already buy on a regular basis and will be comfortable cooking with.
Step 2: back home
You might want to transfer the goods you have bought into containers such as glass jars, plastic boxes, Tupperware®, etc. They don’t need to be fancy or new, it’s very easy to find second hand ones or reuse what you already have at home!
Storing the goods in solid containers will help with long term conservation and enable you to visualise the level of your stocks and know when you need a refill. This is more difficult with opaque paper or cotton bags, but if you don’t have any solid containers, you can also simply place the bags in your cupboard!
Step 3: make a list before your next visit
This is a good habit to adopt, it will help you gain time during your shopping and save money by only buying the quantities you need:
Make a list the products you need
Write down the approximate quantities of each product (eg ‘about 150 gr’ or ‘1 jar ½’)
Tip: you can use our website to remind yourself of the products which are available in store: www.thezeroshop.com/shop
Step 4: your next visit
Now that you know what you can get from the zero waste store, here are the containers we suggest you take with you, so you don't overload:
Paper bags (yes, these bags withstand several uses very well, do not throw them away!)
Fabric bags: they’re light, and will fold very well in any handbag
Small jars: when you need small quantities you can come with the jar itself (eg. teas, spices, baking powder, etc.)
Metal tea or coffee tins and transparent plastic boxes: they are very light, close well and are great to transport dried fruits, nuts, etc.
Larger plastic boxes: ideal for pasta and cereals, especially for large families!
This method will help you transition to zero waste shopping little by little, without upsetting your habits. It should also help you tailor your shopping to your needs and of course, reduce waste by giving a second life to a multitude of containers and avoiding unnecessary packaging!
If you found this useful, don’t hesitate to share it with a friend or colleague who would like to try zero waste shopping but don’t know where to start!
Step 0: how to prepare for your first visit
Everything in a zero waste shop is sold by weight, so you might find it useful before your first visit to familiarise yourself with the quantity of products you consume on a normal week. To do this:
Transfer your packaged products into jars or boxes (in passing, note how much space all the packaging takes and how much nicer your cupboard looks!)
Write down the approximate weight of the dried products (pasta, rice, lentils, etc.) that you eat during the week.
This step is optional but it might help you prepare your shopping list and get an idea of what you really need.