At ekologik we love to share how amazing individuals or causes amplify sustainability. This month we spoke with Kelly from the Zero Waste Pantry in Wrington (the same village outside of Bristol where we make our products!). The Zero Waste Pantry is an amazing store that makes a zero waste lifestyle easily accessible for anyone who wants to make a difference.
We have worked with Kelly since launching ekologik and it's been great to see the products welcomed into the community so well. ekologik helps Kelly by supplying effective products that require minimal storage, require no transportation of water and the pods also help customers as they don't need to bring bottles to fill up.
Check out our full interview with Kelly below:
Q: What made you start a business as a zero-waste shop owner?
I really wanted to make plastic free, ethical and organic shopping easier for those that want to shop in a low waste way as well as reducing travelling into cities to be able to do this. My business journey started after realising that the cleaning refills I was using at the time were no longer as sustainable or ethical as they used to be and it frustrated me that there were no other options for me to refill. Once a month I would gather my containers, bags and jars and head into Bristol to refill my products. After lots of discussion and a survey with people in the village, I concluded that a Zero Waste Store would be beneficial to Wrington and the revival of village shops. I’ve enjoyed becoming part of the community. The Pantry isn’t just about plastic it’s about the environment, sustainable eating, cooking from scratch, championing British grown and encouraging less food waste and less reliance on the meat and dairy industries. All products are researched thoroughly before they make it on the shelves.
Q: What is the easiest sustainable swap someone can make?
This one is completely personal. Lots of people suggest starting in the Bathroom and switching things like a plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one and a bar of soap over shower gels, or refilling cleaning containers and shampoo, conditioner and bodywashes. I think refilling herbs and spices is also a nice easy place to start as well.I believe any swap will truly make a difference and lead onto further swaps and behaviour changes, it really is easy to shop this way!
Q: What is a swap that people find difficult to make?
We all know we can be creatures of habit and whilst some swaps are easy for one person they can be harder for another. Discussions with my customers show that most of them were initially worried about what to bring to refill, what was available and cost, but they always say that once they come in and have a chat this builds the confidence and removes the myths of ‘perfect’ zero waste shopping. Most of my customers are actually surprised at the affordability of shopping low waste, as they are only buying what they want and not getting drawn in by deals. I must admit I found my first couple of visits into a zero waste shop scary and awkward but hopefully here we remove the worry from you by doing the stuff I also thought was ‘hard’ like herbs and spices and liquids. A hard swap for my partner was the tooth tabs over toothpaste but with only him using the tube and me tabs our plastic waste there has declined massively and shows that even I’m not perfect in my low waste journey.
Q: What's your favourite part of running your zero-waste shop?
I really enjoy the interaction with customers that come in and over the 3 years I have watched them change their shopping habits and grow with the Pantry. Some of my best customers I like to call my friends, it’s a real sense of community here, we all help each other out and share recipes, ideas or even things! The discussions we have are about all things environmental, not just plastic waste. I love sharing my knowledge with them, after all I am the one that has done all the product research so all they have to do is shop.
Q: What's your most popular product?
This one is tricky. The biggest ‘healthy’ sellers are the Jumbo and Porridge Oats. We can sell over 70kg of them in a normal month! The unhealthy biggest seller is the Sweets with 20kg or more being sold nearly every month.
Q: Thank you for stocking ekologik, what do your customers say/like about our products?
The feedback I have had from customers about the ekologik range has been really positive, customers like the ease of buying a ‘pod’ they don’t have to worry about bringing in bottles, they can re-use what they have at home, they like the fragrances too! A big selling point is also that it is made here in the village! I love stocking it as it takes up less space on the shelves in the shop, we aren’t transporting water around. I find it sells itself and fits all the high standards we have here at the Pantry. I feel very lucky to be working with Kaye and the ekologik team.
Check out Kelly's Zero Waste Pantry
If you are a shop who share our values at ekologik, we would love to hear from you.