Yesterday spent wisely, at the wonderful Little Eco; Devizes first zero-waste shop…..
Shopping bags are in the boot, but when I’m on my own I forget. Damn, buy another bag, it’s just one after all. Last supermarket visit I figured no, as I had my daughter’s help; I left her to scan the items at the self-service checkout, and made haste to the car to fetch them. Yeah, double-whammy; I jogged, part way!
I’ll confess I’m guilty, but at least I’m willing to. Rapidly aging, stuck in my ways, yeah; the stereotype Greta scorns at. Yet I don’t care who is warning me, it doesn’t patronise me what age they are. The younger they are the more they’ll have to face the consequences, ergo if you lambast youth for telling you that you need to do more, shame on you. The irony is some take it personally, insecure with guilt and try denial. This current wave of ecological outcry addresses world governments, rather than the individual. Still, personally taking as much action as you can pushes that little bit towards the good.
Here’s a little slice of that good, recently arrived in Devizes. The Little Eco shop is lovely, and as it says, little, but the grand step in the right direction our town needs. Situated in that yard, Wharfside, on Couch Street, I popped into our first zero-waste shop, to meet owner Jeni. A number of customers browsed the delightful array of dispensers, scoop-bins and glass jars. There is also a central feature with organic gifts and accessories.
Few customers had been here before, and bought containers with them. For the rest, glass and recycled tubs and containers are available, along with paper bags. The vessels are tared in, and they’re free to shop, many asking for assistance to dispense items; this innovative process is in the making of becoming normal practise. Even the receipt is an email, if required.
While this store may not be a hypermarket, its quaint surroundings harbour a surprisingly vast array of goods. There’re cleaning liquids, of which I profess to know nothing of such matters, erm, washing-up liquid, and erm, that washing powder and soap stuff! Now, onto the tucker, which I can do; they’ve got organic maple syrup, and there’s pasta, rice, cereals and organic maple syrup, flour, herbs, dried fruit, chocolate, and erm, so much stuff, did I mention the organic maple syrup?
The Little Eco Shop has been open since September; Jeni acknowledged the prospect of little acorns. Perishable goods, I think, will make or break it. Still, the like of this needs to be a supermarket, it needs to be central in town, in every town, and it needs a comprehensive fresh range; veg, bread, milk (yeah, I mentioned that!) But at this early stage, what it really needs is your attention first and foremost.
Aside David Attenborough’s influence, we chatted about supermarkets mostly. I referenced how my Nan would tell of pre-supermarket days, when you took your butter dish to the shop, your salt shaker, and they filled them. Without realising they had the carbon footprint of a beatnik amoeba. It’s only since our thirst for efficient consumer self-service, we’ve accumulated this mountain of waste packaging and terrible throw-away ethos. The final straw for me came a few years ago in a petrol station, upon noticing a single orange wrapped in a hard-plastic container; it’s a bloody orange for crying out loud, nature provided it’s packaging.
The greatest dilemma facing Jeni is the progression of supermarkets towards reducing waste. I have to hand it to McDonalds, taking heed of eight-year-old Jacob Douglas, from Basildon, and a small number of other children, and have banned Happy Meal plastic toys. If they listen to what the future generation tell them, surely so can you. Yet, so can and will the supermarkets given time, and if so, Jeni’s self-built business is at risk, but her ethics have had a profound effect.
“If anybody’s sceptical,” I asked Jeni, “it’s over convenience; could you serve the town as quickly as a supermarket?” Negatively she replied but retorted with the notion it’s the personal feel at Little Eco. Jeni expressed the turning trend in the desire to shop at the butchers and greengrocers, who will greet you at the tingling of the bell. Supermarkets steer away from human contact, but if the change to self-service checkouts can be turned around in such a short space of time, a move towards a doable solution to zero-waste on a mass scale could too, by these clever-clogs, if they so wished.
For now, though, we have this gorgeous and friendly shop, yes, it takes a little longer to shop, but I encourage you to try it out; I’m not accepting freebie banana chips, this is not an advertorial, I don’t spew that baloney on you. Crunch time comes down to price then, as ever, and I think you’d be pleasantly surprised it’s competitive and kept at a minimum. Filled a paper bag with my beloved banana chips and was impressed it was just pence, so got myself another scoop-full!
We wish Jeni and the Little Eco shop all the best of luck with this venture, and in order for it to work, the town must show its support, after all, they’ve got a giant cask of organic maple syrup, if I failed to mention it!
DOCA’s Lantern Buy Back Scheme
Along with The Town Hall and The Healthy Life, Little Eco also has a scheme in conjunction with DOCA, where old lantern lights that you may have stowed away from previous parades can be recycled. It’s a lantern light amnesty! Turn your lights into reception at the Town Hall, The Little Eco Shop and The Healthy Life Company. For every working lantern returned you will receive 50p, no questions asked!
The scheme will be running from 11th November to 14th December 2019.
DOCA state, “We can all play a part in making this years festival events greener, but we need your help to reduce the impact of our events on the environment, returning lanterns is one way of doing this!” More information here.
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