January saw the launch of the Zero Waste Club, a new plastic-free online grocery portal founded by 20-year-old Pawan Saunya and his business partner Rishi Gupta.
The site aims to offer everyday items such as pastas, beans, dried fruits and seeds, as well as items that are hard to find without plastic packaging, like tofu and nori wraps. All the products are organic, and Saunya says he tries to ensure they are also sustainably and ethically made.
Speaking to NPN about what prompted the idea, he explains: “I saw that there are a few package-free shops opening up in London, making it much easier to lead a close to zero waste life in the city, but what about everyone else who really wants to reduce their waste? No way will they drive three hours into London to visit a shop. So I thought why not provide people with a truly useful service which is good for them and the planet by opening an online grocery store, where anyone in the UK can buy plastic-free organic foods – and probably at a cheaper price than their local organic grocer?”
I thought why not provide people with a truly useful service which is good for them and the planet by opening an online grocery store, where anyone in the UK can buy plastic-free organic foods
Saunya, who took a gap year to set up the site, says the aim of the store is simple: to make plastic-free/zero waste as easy as possible for everyone who is consciously trying to reduce their waste. “We would like to make organic and plastic-free produce affordable, which should make us the first choice for many customers. We will be able to do this by buying in bulk and going straight to the supplier, cutting out the middle man.”
So how does the site work in terms of packaging? “We simply use food-safe recycled paper packing, tape it with recycled paper tape then put it in a recycled paper cardboard box,” says Saunya. “We have been figuring out many things as we go along, such as logistics of items over 2kgs and if we can build a return scheme if customers want to use their own jars.”
Saunya says he ultimately hopes to inspire other companies to take the same approach. So how has the first month or so been? “It is going well so far,” he adds. “Some items are sold out on the website since we only ordered small quantities of them to test out the market. Now we are confident the is demand for this, and we will be buying in 25kgs.”