Zero Waste Heroes
Meet Stacey and Lidia, the proud partners behind Bristol’s first ever ‘zero waste’ shop, Zero Green.
“If you want to make a few small steps to eradicate single-use plastics out of your life, we can help you with that.
“It’s not about being preachy. It’s not about saying you must fit all of your waste into a jam jar – although very well done if you do”, says Stacey Fordham, one of the partners behind Bedminster’s new zero waste shop.
Zero Green’s concept is that you bring in whatever containers you have at home to fill up with food and other household items.
There’s no or minimal packaging and whatever packaging is used in the shop is recyclable.
But don’t panic if you’ve forgotten your Tupperware.
Old jam jars and other containers, such as cleaned out Chinese takeaway boxes are provided if customers haven’t brought their own. Local residents Stacey and Lidia Rueda Losada met working at the National Trust, where a shared love of walking got them thinking about the impact their waste has on the environment.
Lidia says, “I want to make a difference to the world. All this plastic craziness we’re living in has made a big impact on me”.
Before her stint at the National Trust, Stacey worked for Sainsbury’s, since 1990, running convenience stores in Gloucester Road and Whiteladies Road.
Lidia says, “On a personal level Stacey and I were having long talks about our footprint. We wanted a different choice and we looked around thinking there must be something. If not, we’ll have to just do it ourselves.”
They contacted existing zero waste shops in Totnes and in London for advice and now the shops support each other, recommending suppliers and overcoming the challenges of avoiding waste packaging.
The range of items is impressive and ever-growing. As well as food items, you can buy reusable water bottles, coffee cups, razors, bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars and sanitary products.
Costing the earth
Stacey is keen to make sure the items are affordable to local people.
“You look into a shop like this. It looks pretty and people think they are going to pay through the nose. So we regularly look at the supermarket prices to try to be in line with those.”
Both partners are keen to avoid feelings of guilt around waste. Lidia says, “focus on the positive rather than the negative. Don’t worry about all the things you could be doing”.
Lidia suggests small replacements, one at a time. Cloth napkins, handkerchiefs and reusable straws for children are examples of small changes households can make.
“Three things I always go out with,” says Lidia, “my water bottle, my takeaway cup – because I like coffee – and a small container, like an old Chinese takeaway one, just in case. I always have them in my backpack”.
Zero Green is becoming a real community hub. “We already have repeat customers coming in with tubs already labelled”, Stacey says.
It seems people are genuinely hungry to shop in this way.
The shop has also been a family affair.
Stacey’s dad fitted it with reclaimed pallets and cable drums from Bristol Wood Recycling Project and her mum made tea for their friends and family who came in to help set it up.
We wish them all the best of luck!
You can find the Zero Green shop at 12 North St, Bristol BS3 1HT.