Perth’s very first Zero-Waste shop will be having its Grand Opening on Saturday 1st February. It’s the result of a huge amount of hard work and dedication by a committed group of volunteers, and it will allow eco-conscious shoppers to refill their food and household products, free of wasteful packaging.
Annelie talked to Lindsey Thompson and Craig Burnett, two of the dedicated people bringing the project to life, about the shop (which will be located in Giraffe's Mill Street venue) and what it will mean for Perth.
“I started up Perth Community Farm Shop in Hospital Street in October 2018,” recalls Craig, “selling produce from the farm and refills on household products, and it was so popular that I could see that the city was wanting a zero-waste shop."
"In March 2019, I asked on Facebook if any interested parties would like to come and work as a collective to start a community ZW shop. About 14 people came along and Lindsey was a really fantastic support, as was Cindy Lam Ölmez and all the other volunteers, who started to work together to move to where we are today.”
People are just crying out for this kind of shop.
Lindsey continues, “I’d been trying to journey towards ‘zero waste’ since July 2018. I changed things week by week, reducing my plastic waste. I was visiting a lot of bulk-food and zero-waste shops in other towns, and realised Perth needed one too."
"Craig and I met on Perth Community Farm and we started talking about the possibility of a shop, not as a business but as a community project. We set up a Facebook group and did a survey of local people, which showed an appetite for a shop, but we couldn’t find anywhere suitable for a permanent shop. We set up a food co-op for our group and any interested friends, and then in July we launched the first of regular monthly Zero Waste pop-up shops.”
Lindsey is so committed to the project that she used her own money to kick off the funding, and the group held five busy monthly pop-up shops at Craigie Cross Community Café, with kind support from café owner Gary Boatman.
“In November, Craig spoke to Gareth Ruddock at social enterprise Giraffe Perth, who was keen to work with Perth Community Farm and also to maximise the use of their Mill Street building [opposite Perth Playhouse Cinema]. He kindly offered us that space, which is ideal,” says Lindsey.
The shop will be run by volunteers so initially the opening hours will be two days a week – an evening and a daytime – and alternate Saturdays or Sundays. Have a look at the Perth Community Farm Zero Waste Shop Facebook page for further details! If you’d like to volunteer your time, even just an hour or two every week, you could help the shop open for longer - see details at the bottom of the page.
Shoppers will be able to choose from a plethora of dried goods such as lentils, pasta, rice, flour, seeds, vegan pick & mix sweets, nuts, dried fruit and noodles as well as refills on laundry liquid, washing-up liquid, shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap. There will also be a range of zero-waste products such as soap bars (local company Smelleez Soap will feature!), bamboo toothbrushes, beeswax wraps by Angus Cat Rescue and Jist Jute scrubby cloths. “We’re aiming to work with local suppliers as much as possible,” says Lindsey.
We’re aiming to work with local suppliers as much as possible.
“People are just crying out for this kind of shop,” says Craig. “The refills part of Perth Community Farm shop was becoming so busy that we had to stop them for a while, so that’s why this new Zero-Waste shop is crucial.”
“People really want to do something,” adds Lindsey, because they see what’s happening with the planet and they want to actively do something about it.”
Long-term, the group hopes to get funding and have the shop running as a business running full-time, and this is a huge starting step in that direction.
The Perth’s Zero Waste shop Grand Opening event will happen on Saturday 1st February from 10am to 4pm. Carrot McKay, the Perth Community Farm mascot, will be there, along with the Zero Waste Shop’s very own mascot (and Carrot’s wife), Carol McKay!
There will be free samples, a raffle and children’s activities. Tell your friends and family, bring the kids, and make it a day to remember. This could be the start of a beautiful zero-waste-shopping habit!
If you can’t wait that long, there will also be five pop-up shops at Perth’s Zero Waste Shop from Saturday 18th – Saturday 30th January. Come along and see for yourself how it all works!
If you’d like to volunteer in Perth’s Zero Waste Shop, even for an hour or two a week / fortnight, please pop into the shop on any of the pop-up shop days, or during opening hours from Saturday 1st February, and complete a volunteer application form.
For little green inspiration, or if you have any ideas you’d like to share, please contact Annelie at Little Green Ways.
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