5th - 9th September is Zero Waste Week, a campaign designed to empower you to rethink ‘rubbish’ as a valuable resource, making small changes to lead to more sustainable consumption patterns. The general idea is to reduce the amount of trash we produce. That means only consuming what is needed, refusing single-use plastics, reusing what can be reused, and recycling what can be recycled.
As part of Zero Waste Week, we talked with Harry & Cam, the brand-new owners of All Good Market, a zero-waste and local produce shop in the heart of Stamford, close to Change Agent UK's head office
Tell us all about All Good Market!
All Good Market is a zero waste, refill and local produce shop in Stamford. Our aim of the shop is to provide products that are plastic free and that you are able to buy in a less wasteful way. We have refill dispensers so people can bring their own containers which not only reduces packaging waste but we are reducing single use plastic and reusing what we have at home. All packaging we receive is reused and recycled by the suppliers such as for our: Rapeseed Oil, Olive Oil, Cow and Oat Milk and our Fill supplier of cleaning products, shampoo and conditioner etc.
Not only is refill a huge element of helping reduce waste but by supplying local and UK small businesses, we're not only supporting small but it helps reduce our CO2 and water waste that shipping and flying produce - big contributors to climate change. Reducing our carbon footprint through our weekly staples is really important and something not everyone is aware of but should be.
So what exactly is zero waste/ zero waste living?
The aim of living zero waste is to send as little as possible to landfill that then damages the environment around us. We do this by avoiding the use of single-use plastic and making sure that we reuse what we have and choose more sustainable choices. Personally, I see zero waste as not only to do with plastic but also with our food and general waste. Food waste is just as important to reduce as plastic is, they all affect the environment and our pockets in different ways.
What’s the easiest way to make implement zero waste living in your everyday life?
The easiest way of implementing zero wasting is investing and PLANNING!!
Planning is so important so that we know the exact quantities we need so that we don't over buy (which not only reduces landfill waste but helps save you money too). There's nothing worse than your fresh produce going off and wasting good food to the bin. Plan so you can take the correct containers so you don't buy single-use packaging whether it's plastic or paper. Plan what you're going to buy by knowing what you need that week.
Other products and ways that you can implement zero waste is by investing in reusable products and using more natural remedies and products. For example: instead of using disposable cloths, invest in reusable dish cloths, a dish brush or a loofah. Loofahs are great because they're made from a loofah plant so no manufacturing processes and they're compostable when you've really run down your scrubbing pad. In the shop for cleaning we use a loofah, dish brush and eco bottle brush. Harry is also growing his own loof plant to make our own loofahs!
Refillable razors, deodorants and bottles for your liquids are great simple adjustments. If you can't afford to invest in lots of heavy duty bottles and jars, using your finished milk container, jam jar, cordial bottle etc are great to use for refilling.
Fresh produce? Buy from local farmers and don't forget about those wonky fruits and veggies. Oddbox is a great delivery service for these products and helping reduce your carbon footprint.
Used your ground coffee and now you're going to throw them in the bin? Put them in your compost or sprinkle on to the soil around your plants, they add nutrients plants need that some soils don't supply.
The list of small adjustments we can all make and doing it gradually will really help.
Are there any obstacles to living a more zero waste lifestyle? How can we overcome them?
Obstacles for zero waste living can be either the right products and types of shops available for people to access, sometimes it can be more expensive, but a lot of the time refill prices are comparable to supermarkets. From what people have said to me in the shop, people think it's a great idea to buy refill, shop small and locally but they just don't want to or can't be bothered, because they can get their entire weekly shop in one place. Unfortunately, most sustainable shops won't be able to provide you with your entire weekly shop because we're a small business, so we don't have a giant store to supply the entire works. So yes, you might have to get most of your pantry ingredients, sustainable home and cleaning products from a refill shop, then go to the local butchers for your meat and a veg market stall for your local fruit and veg. Unfortunately,
this isn't practical for everyone, we have busy lives or
prices vary but if you can make one small change, if
that's buying a reusable razor instead of a disposable
one or a shampoo bar, that's a huge start to your zero
What’s your favourite zero waste swap/ zero waste product you sell?
Every we sell!!... I have to say I've been blown away by the cleaning loofah for washing up. You can get/use them for your washing up, cleaning bathrooms, body or even use them to rest your soaps on. Additionally, it isn't until you've seen the behind the scenes and the facts, I am amazed at how many plastic milk bottles we have reduced by our recycled milk system. Hundreds of bottles a week go back to the farms to be refilled. Customers buy local cows and oat milk in a glass bottles that once used they swap for a full bottle.
What are your future plans for All Good Market?
Just to keep expanding! Short term, we'd love to make the shop the best zero waste pantry out there. We might not be able to store and supply fresh fruit and veg -yet!- (although we do have milk, oat milk, eggs, butter, cheese and yoghurts, all locally sourced) but we'd like to increase the options of dry goods that you can get in one place. Further down the line having more fresh products whether that vegetables or deli produce. We want to provide as much as we can in our little shop space. Deliveries are also something we'd like to expand on as we already have some amazing eco conscious clients who we deliver to, which helps them when buying larger orders or bulk buying.
Anything else you want to tell us about zero waste living?
Don't be afraid of change and don't think that you have to go all in at once. Make that small change maybe monthly, whether that's you start recycling your soft plastics at your local supermarket, start a compost in your garden or use your jam jars as storage containers. Just start and don't be apologetic. Small steps can make big changes.
All Good Market's quick starter steps to implementing and understanding zero waste:
Zero waste = no waste. Consider what you buy and how you dispose of it. Look at reducing and stop using single-use plastic.
Want to start a zero waste life style? Here is how I would start that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg:
Start recycling your soft plastics. Crisp packets, chocolate wrappers, that plastic bag your rice came in, the plastic top on your fruit etc, collect them in a bag like you would your general waste and take to a local supermarket to dispose in their soft plastic recycling. Costs you nothing!
Take that step in to using a refill shop. Maybe start with your spices. You can buy these in smaller quantities, usually they're a lot cheaper this way and you reduce your glass waste. Reuse your spice jar, take it to All Good and refill with your spices. You don't have to buy a full jars worth if you don't need it! This is your first step in to the world of refill and you've just reduced on waste!
Maybe next month you add another zero waste lifestyle element - invest in reusable dish cloths or you start refilling your pastas instead of buying in plastic bags - that would make a huge impact!