Stores across the world are finding amazing ways to reduce waste. For example, a store in Norway is taking nearly expired food and selling it at a fraction of the cost to lower food waste and to help feed those on a tighter budget. Another recent example is a family that lives in Devon, in the United Kingdom, who run a grocery store that focuses on completely limiting the environmental effects of their products. That's right: It's your usual groceries, but without all the plastic and packaging waste that typically surrounds your food.
Nicola and Richard Eckersley opened up Earth.Food.Love to help protect the environment by removing plastic packaging and selling ethical, wholesome, and organic products. The couple got their idea from a zero-waste store in Germany called Unperfekthaus. That also played a role in their decision to live in Devon -- it’s a place in the UK that didn’t have anything like their idea.
As of right now, the options in their store are understandably limited. It wouldn’t be a place to gather potato chips and beer for the big game with the amount of waste those products create, for example. Most of the food consists of pasta, grains, syrup, raw chocolates, and nut butters. Why? These are foods that store well in bulk, and are easy to transport in your own reusable bags or jars. Their store gives you a really hands on experience, as well, as you can actually grind your own nut butter with a variety of almonds and peanuts.
Richard explains to Metro that the nut butter machine has been the most popular feature of the store, saying, “Filled with both almonds and peanuts, you can re-use your nut butter jar again and again and again, each time filling it with delicious, sticky goodness that’s been ground right in front of you.”
With no packaging, how do you actually bring your purchases home? It’s pretty easy, though it requires a little preparation on the customer's part. Most people bring their own reusable bags, containers, or jars, which is easier to remember if you keep some stored in your car or backpack. However, customers that either forget or are new to the concept can choose to use compostable paper bags provided by the store. For a cost, they can also purchase jars, as putting fresh nut butter in a paper bag wouldn’t be ideal for obvious reasons.
The couple experiments with other products all the time, such as plastic-free deodorant and bamboo toothbrushes, but they make sure the supplier they select is genuine and have their same visions. As for powering on the shop, they’ve thought sustainably for that as well. They use Ecotricity, a popular choice in the UK for green energy distribution.
Earth.Food.Love generates a lot of interest and tourists love to see the unique grocery store. Despite the attention, they really enjoy seeing constant consumers going in and continuing to support what they do. Richard notes that money isn’t the driving factor; the motivation is simply living a better and alternative lifestyle.
“It’s not about price for us,” Richard told Metro. “We don’t want to stock items just for the sake of it, it has to be ethical. At the same time, we don’t want to compete with local farms – there are many around here that sell fresh produce already.”