As the fight against plastic pollution continues to grow, going zero-waste in Bristol has just become one large step easier thanks to Stacey Fordham and Lidia Rueda-Losada. At the Zero Green shop in Bedminster, consumers can fill their own containers with a variety of products including pasta, spices, laundry detergent and oils.
Tell us, in 20 words or fewer, about Zero Green – what’s your mission?
Our mission is to provide a reduced packaging, plastic-free, shopping experience for a sustainable Bristol and beyond.
What drives you?
Our passion. Regardless of what it is, you need passion. You can love an idea but if you are not passionate, this could quickly become a routine. We’ve probably said the same thing to the same people a hundred times but it doesn’t matter, because we believe in what we’re saying.
What challenges have you faced while launching Zero Green?
Although our supplier experience has been great, there has been a few people we’ve had to walk away from. Working with them wouldn’t have allowed us to take the packaging back or to get the size and the material that we want. For instance, we tried two or three tea and coffee suppliers in order to get packaging that we could return.
We also had to get people’s ideas about this kind of shop. It is a very old-fashioned type of shopping – we are not reinventing the world but we are speaking to a new generation of people.
Where do you want to take Zero Green next?
We think Zero Green has the opportunity to grow here in Bristol. We’d like to expand the lines that we sell, such as offering both fresh and frozen foods.
We have also had a lot of enquiries about franchising from all corners of the country, somebody is even interested in Australia! We are happy even if we are just inspiring other people – which I know we are because the half a dozen of people who want to open their zero waste shops is testament to that. We’re delighted to have been able to support them.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Dream big and dare to fail.” I gave up a well-paid sensible healthcare job with a pension scheme, while Lidia still has another full-time job and works at the shop on weekends, and we are now doing something we truly believe in. So, I think you have to leap sometimes. I spent a lot of time being in a sensible job and then I did a massive leap!
Can you leave us with who’d be your Eco-Hero?
This is a bit obvious from a zero-waste point of you, but there is a lady called Bea Johnson who has pioneered the zero-waste lifestyle. We love the fact that she has made it more mainstream, more accessible for people. Her TED Talk was one of the first videos that we watched. She’s been so inspiring that we now have dreams of owning a zero-waste “Bea Johnson” style kitchen.
At Greenhouse, we support a wide variety of organisations pioneering new standards of sustainability across multiple sectors. Whether it’s fashion, finance or farming, we’re always on the look-out for new opportunities to reach our clients’ target audiences. If you’ve got a great story and need our help to tell it, we’d love to hear from you.