Starting a zero waste shop, it was confusing to get our heads around how we would order so much in bulk, transport, carry around the shop and refill, not to mention the daily spillages we ourselves cause. But what is it like for you to shop with us?
Well, it’s a question we’re asked very regularly and there’s no shame in it. Maybe you weren’t brought up with a local scoop and save in the ‘good ol’ days’ or a local bulk market. Many of us are brand new to this and we’d love to help you. Something we’re proud of in the shop and as a company, is our customer service. So, here’s a how to guide, or as someone mentioned a popular ‘d**mies guide to zero waste shopping’ (we can’t use that trademark reference so here’s ours).
What to bring
If you’ve forgotten your bags or just popped in, not to worry! We’ve got paper bags you can purchase at 4p for the small square grocery bags and 20p for the medium paper box bags for bulkier purchases, both made using recycled paper.
If you’d like to save the waste and use something that will last you a lot longer, we’ve also got really useful cotton produce bags; bread bags, baguette bags as well as 3 pack variety sized mesh and muslin bags. We also have beautiful Kilner jars, spice jars and Tala jars for sale, as well as milk bottles for your milk refills (or vinegar and oils) and swing top bottles too.
If you’re bringing your own, tupperware is lighter to carry home than jars and less likely to smash in your bags, old bread bags, honestly, anything that can be tared at the scales and filled without spilling into your bag on the way home is useful! Someone even used pillowcases!
What do I do first?
When you enter the shop, please sanitise your hands with the sanitiser provided at the door and collect a sanitised basket, we have pull along baskets and smaller wicker baskets for you to use which can be found at the front of the shop.
Afterwards, proceed to the self service scales to tare weigh your containers/bags. We’ve got one set that prints tare weight labels and another set next to our herbs and spices where you can use a washable chalk pen to write the tare weight should you wish to not have a label to remove.
If you’re buying a container, bag or jar from us to use, we have these tare weights already saved at the till so no need to worry about tare-ing these.
Please also weigh liquid refill bottles first before refilling. We do everything apart from milk by weight in the shop, including liquids as it’s far more accurate than guessing per millilitre in bottles, therefore you’re not being overcharged.
How to refill
Each foodstuff has a different container, scoop bin, jar or dispenser for itself. you’ll find signage around the shop as to where most foo categories can be found. Regular big sellers however, can be found in the large white bins underneath the main table and in the cupboard spaces beneath the gravity dispensers to the left wall of the shop.
Want to know what we have in stock before you visit? We have a full product list of what we have in stock which can be found as a downloadable pdf on the front page of our website and here.
If you need help at any point in time to refill, using the gravity dispensers or for liquid refills, any member of the team will be more than happy to show you or even refill for you if you’d feel more confident that way as we understand it can be pretty daunting when you’re not used to it.
Please don’t worry yourself about spillages as they happen daily and regularly throughout the day even by ourselves. Just notify a member of staff so that we can clear it up for the next person using and to avoid any accidents.
After you’ve refilled
Once you’ve finished your shopping with us, you can either bring your shopping to the self service scales to weigh your filled container and get a price label or you can bring your containers to us and we’ll weigh and price everything for you at the till scales. You’ll just need to tell us what is in each container as we put them through if we are unable to recognise or open the container.
We then give you your price to pay and if you’ve spent over £10 with us, you’ll be given a loyalty card with a signature. Once you’ve reached 5 signatures on your card you’ll get £5 pounds off that shop and once you’ve reached 10 signatures, you’ll get £10 off your shop as a thank you for your support of the planet and our social enterprise.
We hope this guide was helpful. See you in store soon!