Zero Waste Shopping is coming to Lancashire soon
We all saw David Attenborough’s Blue Planet last year highlighting the problem of plastic in the oceans. But did you know there is what many believe to be an island of plastic, floating in the pacific, 3 times the size of France? And growing every day. Ocean currents are bringing the plastic waste together in a mass so large that 100,000 people recently applied for citizenship of it to the UN, just to highlight it’s existence. The plastic, which will never biodegrade is being brought together by ocean currents and is affecting sea life.
But Plastic Biodegrades Eventually Doesn’t It?
This plastic will never biodegrade, it’s impossible in water, it will just break down into smaller and smaller particles, until it is consumed by sea creatures where it then enters the food chain. Many creatures are eating plastic without realising, filling up their stomachs with what they think is food, but that they can never digest, and then dying of starvation. There are some truly alarming and horrific photo’s of wildlife affected by our waste. When the animals decompose, the plastic is released again to harm another. It’s a never ending cycle, until the plastics break down slowly to micro plastics. Tiny particles of plastic small enough to enter the cells of the creatures that consume them, and all those in the food chain above them, including humans.
But we recycle, right?
Some yes, but only around 9% of plastic waste is recycled according to The National Geographic.
The study, published last year in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, is the first global analysis of all plastics ever made—and their fate. Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink.
If present trends continue, by 2050, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills. That amount is 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building.
Often in the UK we send our recyclable materials abroad. We were sending them to China, but earlier this year they imposed a ban on imports of plastics, they have too much of their own already. So according to The Independent, the UK have been sending this plastic to other countries, with questionable records on marine pollution, such as Malaysia and Vietnam. sell our recycling to foreign countries, but it is estimated that only XX% of that actually arrives at it’s supposed destination. Add to that in the UK we currently use around 50 million plastic bottles every day, 480 Billion around the world in 2018 alone (yes, 480,000,000,000) and you can see that recycling isn’t always the answer, we just can’t keep up with the demand. And many plastics can’t easily be recycled. Most councils are now specifying which plastics you can include in your kerbside collection. But what so you do with the rest?
But it’s not our fault, the supermarkets put almost everything in packaging!
Yes, we know it’s hard to buy your weekly shop packaging free. Supermarkets sell fresh produce, with a shelf life of sometimes only 1 or 2 days in packaging designed to last forever. This does extend shelf life and therefore is designed to reduce food waste. But this isn’t the case when it is a pack of multiple items and only one is damaged. The supermarkets will discard the whole packet, even the other items in the pack that are perfectly fresh. Most dried goods are packed in plastic that isn’t currently recyclable too, when other alternatives are widely available. And did you know that around 20% of the average weekly shopping bill from a supermarket is spent on the packaging?
That’s where I come in……
After realising there was nowhere for me to buy food packaging free. Going to the supermarkets to buy bags of dried foods, to bring them home and pour straight into jars in my pantry and throw the bags away straight away (as most can’t be recycled) I realised there had to be a better way. I remember the weigh and save type places from when I was younger, but most are now gone, and with open bins of foods they are subject to abuse hygiene wise. When I started my research to find a better way to do it, I found places in the USA where this is a normal way to buy. You may have seen on the news zero waste shops are starting to pop up in Southern England. But where are ours?? As there were no others in Lancashire, I thought I’ll just have to start it myself. So here I am.
In an effort to help reduce packaging waste, you will be able to come into the shop and either bring in your own containers or buy jars or organic cotton bags from us. Then fill from the airtight and hygienic gravity dispensers just the amount that you need. Everything is clearly labelled with ingredients, origin and there will be a wider range than most supermarkets.
I’m hoping to have around 80 gravity dispensers and scoop dispensers with wide ranges of Organic dry foods such as pasta’s, rice, grains, legumes, cereals, seeds, nuts, dried fruit as well as Oils, Vinegar’s and Honeys in Stainless Steel Fusti containers. I will also stock cleaning products in bulk dispensers for you to fill your own, and both liquid shampoo and shampoo bars to really cut down on the amount of plastic bottles you need to take into your home. I’m also hoping to be able to have a nut grinder, for you to be able to come into the shop and bring your own Peanut or Cashew Butter, and also a Nut Milk machine to make your own fresh Almond Milk.
What about reusable products?
I already stock a wide range of reusable products in the online shop here. Bamboo Toothbrushes, Stainless Steel Water Bottles, Organic Cotton Bags, Organic Mesh Bags – perfect for your fruit and veg shopping, Stainless Steel Lunch Boxes, Reusable Straws and Straw Cleaners, Bamboo Cutlery and lots of other things in the online shop, which can order now with next day delivery. Or if you are coming to The Great British Food Festival this weekend, then pop and see me on the stand in the Sports Hall.
Where will it be?
I’ve looked at premises in Clitheroe, Longridge and Lytham so far, and also have Garstang and Chorley on the list to view. I’ve been at The Great British Food Festival all weekend at Stonyhurst College with a pop-up shop asking people where they’d most like the shop to be and have had an overwhelming response. Come along and vote if you’re in the area, or get in touch. I have also considered being mobile, to be able to fulfil the needs of more people, but this would limit the number of products available. I’m hoping to open in the next couple of months, so you won’t have long to wait.
Anyone who wants to help me on my journey to be able to provide waste-free shopping to Lancashire, please get in touch.