Zero Waste Market are one of our geographically closest customers, located just along Duke Street from Greencity HQ in Dennistoun. They’ve been up and running as a shop since March 2019, and have been a fantastic local fixture ever since. We asked them a few questions to learn more about zero waste, how they weathered the challenges of 2020, and what their hopes are for the future of food shopping.
1. What made you decide to open a ‘zero waste’ shop?
A couple of years ago we started trying to reduce the amount of plastic we were using in our day to day lives. We began researching items for the home like reusable washing up sponges, steel safety razors, reusable makeup wipes and sanitary products. After using them for a while and realising the impact they could have, we wanted to make it easy for people in glasgow to find these things! So we put together the first market stall in Glasgow supplying zero waste housewares. After doing this for a few months we decided to add to the zero waste offerings in Glasgow by setting up a refill grocery shop in our neighbourhood of Dennistoun, which had no access to plastic free shopping. Luckily for us, people round here love it and the shop is thriving!
2. Are there any specific challenges to this business model?
The main challenge is what we can stock. We can only stock products that we can purchase from ethically minded suppliers (Like Greencity!), in bulk or plastic free. That means we don’t stock the usual branded goods and there are some items, like yoghurt for example, which we just can’t stock at the moment!
3. What has the support been like from the community at large?
We are lucky that Dennistoun has always had a thriving local high street, and that people in the area really value small local businesses. They enjoy getting to know the staff members and it creates a real sense of community we haven’t felt in other areas of the city. Graham runs the shop day to day and he has loved getting to know the locals by name, and helping them in any way he can. Our customers enjoy shopping with us and avoiding plastic, but they also love shopping with a small business and avoiding supermarkets.
4. How has Covid-19 affected your business?
Mainly it’s been quite positive for our shop, there’s been a surge in people supporting local shops throughout the pandemic, to ensure the survival of their high street. People wanted to avoid big supermarkets; the queues were huge, they were often out of stock and there were quite big crowds there. Our shop offered a calm way to shop, without the crowds! We also work hard to maintain local supply chains which meant that our stock levels didn’t falter, unlike the big chains. During the most severe parts of lockdown, nipping to our shop was the only time people would see a familiar friendly face and we enjoyed keeping that shopping experience as normal as possible for people.
5. What kind of future do you envision for businesses like yours?
It’s hard to say, I think shops like ours should be in every neighbourhood. There are some areas of Glasgow where the only option is big supermarkets, it would be great if everyone had the option to shop small, to support their local economy, and to shop plastic free for the benefit of the environment. So maybe there’s another shop in the works at some point, but for now, we’re enjoying where we are.
6. Why do you use Greencity wholefoods as a supplier?
We use Greencity because we can trust them. They do their due diligence on where products are coming from and ensure the most ethical supply chains possible. They are also constantly working on reducing their plastic consumption, finding more items in bulk and stopping the sale of single use plastic bottles for example. They are also incredibly lovely people, they go above and beyond to help you, we will never forget the long hours and hard work they put in during the worst of the pandemic, to keep us fully stocked and to ensure our customers could continue to shop with us. Thank you Greencity!
Thanks to Graham & Lizzie at Zero Waste Market for answering our questions! Find out more about Zero Waste Market or shop online with them at their website, zerowastemarket.org.uk.