Independent retailer Better Food’s St Werburghs branch has completed the set-up of a packaging-free wall, in time for Zero Waste Week, which takes place from today until 7 September.
We’ve been finding ways to extend our packing-free ranges for a while, and have already introduced several new initiatives into our three stores (charity levy on disposable cups and discount on reusable ones, no straws, refill wine and tea) to complement our more established practices (loose eggs, refills and loose fresh produce),” explains Better Food marketing manager Lucy Gatward. “The packaging-free wall plans fell into place as soon as we decided our largest and most establish store in St Werburghs was due a refit. It’s taken a few months to implement as it’s a big project, but we’re delighted with the result.”
Selling fewer pre-packs positively impacts carbon emissions and also leaves more room on the shelves for innovative products, more and more of which will be selected because of their environmentally-responsible packaging as well as their organic status
The main reason for installing wall was to reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in landfill, but Gatward highlights a number of other benefits: “Buying in bulk means products are cheaper and you only buy what you need, so there’s less waste. Selling fewer pre-packs positively impacts carbon emissions and also leaves more room on the shelves for innovative products, more and more of which will be selected because of their environmentally-responsible packaging as well as their organic status.”
Working with Catherine Conway from Unpackaged – ‘a true pioneer’ – the store now has a set-up comprising 41 gravity bins and scoop units containing organic nuts, seeds, grains, pulses, cereals and dried fruit, and a set of scales where consumers can weigh their items and print a barcoded label.
The reduction of packaging recalls the early days of Better Food, says Gatward. “If you look back to early pictures of our founder Phil Haughton (pictured above) in his first shop on Bristol’s Gloucester Road, most things are in glass jars and paper bags, or just loose. It feels like all this plastic has crept in insidiously over the years. It’s time to reset the dial, and that’s what we’re in the process of doing.”
In time, the Better Food’s Wapping Wharf and Clifton branches will follow suit, but in the meantime the retailer is ensuring that the shops have as many packaging reduction initiatives in place as possible.