'This is the only way to fight disposable plastic & # 39; & # 39 ;: Birmingham's waste-free supermarket | Unwrapped sustainability

Zero waste shopping promises to reduce wasteful packaging and eradicate disposable plastic at weekly grocery stores. But can we get rid of addiction with the convenience and convenience that traditional supermarkets offer, along with refrigerated products and plastic-packed fruit packs?

Jeanette Wong and partner Tom Pell think we can. In June 2018, a zero-waste vegetarian supermarket Clean Kilo was opened in Digbeth, Birmingham, where shoppers make bulk purchases, bring their own containers to rice, legumes, pasta, yogurt, butter and milk It's filling everything up. The idea is to keep the packaging to a minimum, so it can hold everything, pour it and refill it. You can squeeze your own orange juice and get ice cream in the cones and find a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. There are eco-friendly cleaning products and personal care products. Moisturizing and body washes are locally sourced from nearby Bonville and the contents of a 5 liter container can be pumped into the customer's container. Washing liquids, detergents and detergents are dispensed from the stainless steel container into the customer's bottle, while the laundry and dishwasher powder is spread in the container. There is no disposable plastic piece invisible.





Refill the bottle in clean kilo Birmingham.







Clean Kilo Fresh Vegetables From Birmingham.







Tom Pell, co-owner of Birmingham Clean Kilo



“The system is complex and difficult to manage. It takes more time, so it's not as cost effective as traditional supermarkets. But this is the only way to fight using disposable plastic, ”says Pell. He estimates that since its opening, stores have saved more than 150,000 disposable plastics.

Shopping at Clean Kilo offers shoppers the novelty and fun of measuring groceries and weighing on scales. Serving about 80 shoppers per day, this store attracts people who strive for the environment.

“It's really rewarding to see our customers bring reusable containers, old shampoo bottles, cleansing bottles and Tupperware bags,” Wong says. "Customers visit from places like Edgbaston, which is a 45-minute walk away."

The store has a hygiene policy, the container should be clean for the consumer. Most products are dry to reduce the likelihood of bacterial infection. Butter, milk and yogurt are served by our staff who can make sure the container is clean to our customers.

The couple got an idea for a waste zero supermarket after seeing A Plastic Ocean in 2017.





Clean kilo Birmingham's raw honey and agave syrup.







Local free eggs in Clean Kilo, Birmingham.







Fresh fruit from the clean kilo, Birmingham.



  • Wong and Pell save on packaging costs, but Clean Kilo's retail styles incur different costs because they help to introduce the labor-intensive nature of the rotary product, dispenser refills, and new ways of shopping to customers.

“People knew about the problem, but not at the present level. We've been talking about how to reduce plastic in our lives because it's very difficult these days because everything is surrounded by disposable plastic and there are a lot of convenient items, ”says Wong.





Clean kilo Birmingham herbs and spices.



Wong was a fashion designer and Pell majored in chemistry. But convinced that food shopping could be made more ethical, he launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise funds for ventures. “It's very dangerous and ambiguous and I don't know why people are doing that.

They were lucky during the fundraising appeal. David Attenborough's Blue Planet II finale was screened at BBC1 and informed the public about marine plastic pollution issues and asked people to reduce plastic waste.

"Suddenly it was a fantastic timing for everyone to talk, so over 500 people participated in the campaign and we raised over £ 20,000." The destination of the weekly store.

After several months of research, they decided on vertical dispensing containers (total 80) that line the walls and 40 jars used with scoops. Weighing scales were expensive because they subtracted the weight of the container to provide the net weight for the product, and then generated a bar code to scan at checkout. These stickers are not recyclable, but due to the chemicals added to the paper, we expect to be able to use recyclable barcode stickers soon.

There are a few items that could not be supplied in bulk, such as chopped tomatoes, and I did not find a source that can supply cucumbers without plastic packaging. Wong adds: “We always work with local suppliers as much as possible, so we can create a circulating system that can reuse containers.”

Is this the beginning of the Zero Waste Revolution that will change the way we shop? Wong said, “The concept is already expanding considerably, but it's done through independence rather than supermarkets.





Guardian Rap, Clean Kilo. Tom, owner



Packaging can account for one-fifth of the cost of the product, but the clean style of Kilo's retail styles incurs other costs as it requires more employee intervention. This helps to give shoppers a new way of shopping. However, zero waste means the shelf life of the distributor is short, which means that it is labor intensive to store and regularly replenish small quantities of products in the dispenser. The shelf life of cleaning products is six months to one year, and personal care products vary. Many people have written expiration dates on their dispensers, and shoppers are encouraged to record them in containers.

The spill was a problem at first, so the staff can make sure that people have not filled the containers too much. We hope that once customers get used to the process, they will gain more knowledge and avoid waste.

In January, Clean Kilo reached Federx's small business subsidy of £ 20,000 and is investing in opening a second store in nearby Bourneville. This will join 200 or so zero waste stores that have opened in the UK since 2017 when plastic pollution hits the headlines. A revolution without plastic is going on, but flexibility is needed for both shoppers and retailers.

This article is part of a series paid by Henkel. henkel.co.uk/ Sustainability

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