I recently came across my first Zero waste store in Guildford ran primarily by volunteers, they boast an entirely plastic-less point-of-sale experience. Made up of ethically sourced and thoughtfully priced items, allowing the customer to bring their own containers and refill upon arrival. Refill-based shopping provides better value whilst protecting the ecosystems that support us, as well as providing numerous benefits:
- No food wrapping entering the environment
- No microplastics entering the food chain
- Only buy what you'll eat - thereby reducing food waste emissions
- Food lasts longer in your airtight containers than in shop packaging
- You're not paying for the packaging
Food waste across the supply chain contributes a staggering 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity. Therefore, zero carbon Guildford strive to do what they can do diminish these high figures. I was really intrigued by this space and loved that they also had a community fridge. Anybody can contribute and they also receive donations from local shops who are throwing food out. This food is then placed in the community fridge and given out free to those who need it. This helps cut food waste from local supermarkets and supports everyone in the community at the same time. The charity explains how:
“A problem as big as the plastic pollution crisis requires a complex approach. But there are 2 things we can all do to help. First, we need to stop buying so much plastic. Find a zero-waste shop near you and take the first step in a low impact lifestyle.
Secondly, support the development of circular economy initiatives that turn waste plastic into something useful. There are already some fantastic initiatives being created by people who care, and using your wallet to stop funding needless single use plastic production, whilst supporting the re-use and repurposing of old plastics is everyday activism anyone can take part in”
The charity hosts several workshops every month from upcycling to community projects and also provides appropriate channels for waste to be recycled through the introduction of their ‘Terracycle’ station. Allowing you to recycle tricky items like soft plastic packaging, baby food pouches, and other items not commonly picked up by roadside recycling.
I look forward to seeing more centres or zero waste shops being set up in the future. Is this something that will catch on?