Have you ever been to your usual supermarket and paid attention to the amount of plastic piling up in your trolley as you buy fruit & vegetables, snacks and other household essentials? If not, have a look next time you go. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.
It is estimated that UK households throw away a staggering 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging a year, averaging 66 items per household per week. When less than 10% of plastic actually gets recycled in the UK, it’s pretty clear that the maths doesn’t add up and there’s something we need to do here.
At Positive Outlook we have the planet in mind, not only when creating our clothes but also when it comes to our lifestyle choices, and we’re so pleased to be able to shop at Zero, a no-waste shop just round the corner from our Leamington store, managed by Charlie and her fantastic team.
So, what exactly is a refill shop?
A refill shop is often a small and independent business that sells non-packaged goods like food, toiletries and cleaning products. In these shops, there’s no flashy sales and mass consumption enticement. You’re encouraged to only buy what you need and it’s the best place to meet like-minded people who care about the environment and want to help the community…
Greenpeace has called this way of shopping the “old new” as these shops are similar to old neighbourhood corner shops in the 50s, when wasting was far from the norm, as it is nowadays.
How does it work?
If you’ve never been to a refill shop before, the idea of it can be a bit confusing. Luckily, there will always be someone there who is more than happy to give you a hand.
Additionally, we filmed our latest shop at Zero which you can watch here (hyperlink to video) and have included key steps for a successful trip.
Before leaving the house
1. Find your nearest shop (if you’re local, Zero has a shop in Leamington, Stratford and they do free click&collect and home delivery for a small fee) and check what they sell.
2. Go through your cupboards and make a shopping list
3. Gather some containers to refill with the items you need. There’s no right or wrong containers and as the whole idea is to reduce plastic consumption, don’t feel like you have to buy brand new empty containers! Clean any empty bottles, jars and takeaway tupperware you already have at home and these will do the job perfectly, whilst giving them a second life rather than throwing them away, win-win!
At the shop
1. Weigh your empty containers on the scales
2. Choose the product you need and take as much as you like. You’ll have funnels and spoons to help you fill the containers without making a mess.
3. Weigh your filled containers to get a label with the price to pay.
Debunking the zero waste shopping myths
Zero waste is more expensive
This is probably the most common assumption we have when first hearing about zero waste shopping. If some prices are higher than supermarkets’ own brands, it’s because the products sold are of higher quality, will often be organic and most importantly support a real person behind a small business and not some giant corporation.
Furthermore, most items do tend to be the same price as the ones in supermarkets, if not cheaper! Charlie at Zero provides regular price comparisons of key items and her latest one shows that although prices are rising in supermarkets, they’re staying the same in her shop, and are even going down! You can also get a membership badge with an annual fee which allows you to claim a 10% discount on all refillable items every time you shop.
Zero waste is too time-consuming
Another common misconception. Once you’ve used a refill shop once, it’s very easy to get used to it and feel like a pro. Also, if you don’t have time to actually go to the shop, you can always opt for a click&collect or delivery option and save some more time.
Refill shops also allow you to buy the exact amount you need without any packaging which means less cluttered cupboards to clear out and less recycling to take out every week, so if anything, you’ll be saving time!
One person can’t make a difference
When talking about climate change, it’s very easy to think that the issues are too big, out of our little hands and we, as individuals, can’t make a difference by buying a few plastic-free items.
In an ideal world we would all be true eco-warriors committed to a no-waste lifestyle. However we also know that this is a big shift in our routines and can’t be expected immediately from everyone. It has to be a gradual process and a challenge that feels manageable and not overwhelming.
It just takes a small change to start. If you start buying a few items at your local refill shop, then mention it to a few friends who also go and buy a couple of items and mention it to their own friends, the message spreads and we really can make a positive, lasting impact.
Just like that, you’ve made a much bigger difference than you thought, you have helped a small business to thrive and started to do your bit for the planet. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
Happy skin all day, every day
At Positive Outlook we've created a range of silky soft clothes for all your need. Our classic styles are made from breathable, hypoallargenic fabrics, extra gentle for sensitive skin. Try our 'Underwear Collection' for all day comfort or our 'Leisurewear Range' to look and feel good when you're out and about.
View our entire bamboo collection here and experience a new level of comfort. It really has to be felt to be believed.
Blog Author: Léa Gorniak - May 29th 2023