What is Zero Waste?
This Blog is about 5 of my favourite Zero Waste Shops. But what is Zero Waste? If you’ve been reading my Blogs and are already on your Zero Waste Journey you’ll know the answer. But if you’re not sure here’s a quick answer.
The simple answer: The aim is to send nothing to a landfill. Refuse what you don’t want, reduce what you need, reuse as much as you can, send as little as possible to be recycled, and compost whatever you can’t.
The less simple answer: It’s really about redefining the system. We currently live in a linear economy where we take resources from the earth and then dump them in a giant hole in the ground. The goal of zero waste is to move to a circular economy where we write rubbish out of existence. The circular economy mimics nature in that there is no rubbish in nature.
Instead of discarding resources, we should be aiming to create a system where all resources can be resumed fully back into the system.
Zero Waste 5 Rs
A great way to think about how to reduce waste is to remember the 5 Rs
Refuse – Learn to say no! Say no to food wrapped in plastic, say no to that plastic straw.
Reduce – Think before you buy. If you switch to homemade natural cleaning products you only need some White Distilled Vinegar and Bicarbonate of Soda to cover most jobs link
Reuse – If things break, repair them or have them repaired. Upcycle items you would otherwise throw away, paint that old chair and give it a new lease of life. Buy second hand.
Recycle – If you’ve managed to Refuse, Reduce and Reuse then you shouldn’t have a lot left but make sure you separate out your remaining rubbish and put the recycleable rubbish in the recycling bin.
Rot – Compost your food waste and use it to fertilise your plants and many grow a few veggies or salad leaves of your own.
Q Gardens Farm Shop - Steventon Oxfordshire
Q Gardens – We’re very lucky that we have a wonderful Farm Shop a couple of minutes away from us. They aim to stock produce that has been grown, reared or made as locally as possible which includes fruit from their own orchards and meat from their own farm just a couple of miles away from the shop.
They also have Pick Your Own fruit in season and make the most delicious homemade ice cream.
It’s a great place to pick up package free veg, fruit, meat and cheese.
East Oxford Community Market
East Oxford Community Market – The East Oxford Farmers’ & Community Market is a small, friendly local market which has bread, eggs, milk, vegetables, cheese, various meats, refills for cleaning supplies – as well as a range of other products such as jewellery, clothing and secondhand books. The majority of the producers are from within 30 miles of Oxford.
This market is great for picking up your package free basics but one of the main advantages is the SESI Food & Detergent Filling Station where you can refill empty containers with fairtrade, organic dried foods; household detergents & hair-care products.
Nourish - Braunton, devon
Nourish – As we live in Oxforshire you may wonder why I have a shop in Devon on my list of favourites. The reason is that we go down to Croyde Bay in North Devon quite a few times a year. On our last visit we found that this new shop Nourish had opened up in Braunton which is just down the road from Croyde.
It’s a wonderful shop that stocks so many great Zero Waste products from it’s plastic free refill station with organic nuts, seeds, grains, pulses, herbs and spices; to soap and deodorant and much more in between. You can buy fresh vegetables and bread as well as refill your eco detergent container.
Blewbury Community Stall
Blewbury Community Stall – The next village along from us which is slightly larger than our has a weekly stall selling surplus produce from gardens and allotments in summer. As well as fruit and vegetables it sells seedling and small plants and also homemade preserves.
Repair Cafe – I know it’s not actually a shop but I think Repair Cafes are brilliant. When my Dad was alive I would just take things along to him and ask him to help me fix them, he could always fix anything.
I’m pretty good at fixing things, as is Mr J. But if you’re not very confident and need a little bit of help to fix something then a Repair Cafe may be for you. You can find them all over the place.
This is what they have to say about themselves:
At the Repair Cafe, we will try to fix broken household items in a collaborative and social way. We will have expert volunteer fixers on hand to work with you to support:
repairs of household electrical items (incl. computers)
advice with simple computer problems
gluing broken items/toys
mending clothes/up-cycling/fabric crafts
clocks, watches and mechanical items
sharpening knives, tools, etc.
I live in quite a small village but we’re trying to do our bit to reduce waste. We now have a Village What’s App Group called Journey Saver. If anyone is making a trip to the shops or into Town they’ll put a message out to the Group to see if anyone needs a lift or wants something picked up from the shops. It’s a great way to cut down on unnecessary journeys and build a community spirit.
Do you have any great local initiatives?