What is Earthian Goods?
Earthian Goods will be a zero waste store, set up in Winchester City Centre and specialising in plastic free, vegan/vegetarian and low waste products. The product range will include: dried goods, such as grains, pulses and nuts; bulk liquids, such as household cleaning essentials; zero waste essentials for home, bath and beauty that will include soaps, refillable shampoo and conditioner, storage containers, dental hygiene, reusable cups and bottles.
Who am I and why am I passionate about this project?
Hello! My name is Katie. I initially set up Earthian Goods as a small handmade business through the craft and vintage marketplace, Etsy.com. I make plastic-free/plastic reducing products and have been running the shop online in this way for the last 7 months or so outside of my full-time employment.
The passion behind this project is my own journey towards a zero-waste home. I have been cutting out plastic waste for over a year after becoming increasingly aware of the effect the way we live has on the environment. I started tracking how much plastic the swaps I made was saving and at the end of the first year, 429 pieces of plastic did not go to landfill from our home.
I would like to provide a business that offers all the essentials in one place on the high street. Along my own journey to using less plastic and living more sustainably, I have learnt a huge amount and made plenty of mistakes along the way. I’m not yet zero waste but I’m working towards this in all the little choices I make day to day, and all the big changes I’ve made to the way I live. I’d like to use this knowledge and experience to make the journey easier for others and to inspire more people to start reducing their waste.
How will shopping here be good for the environment?
Firstly, you’ll be preventing unnecessary plastic waste from entering your home and supporting a supply chain that uses and produces minimal waste. Not all plastic is bad, some is recyclable and we all do our part in this system by separating waste at home. However, we have produced far too much of it over the years for it to ever be recycled or reused, and a lot of single-use plastic – such as stretchy plastic or polystyrene – can’t be recycled in the conventional way. The amount of damage single-use plastic causes compared to its convenience is harrowing and we should ideally be reducing our reliance on these materials. Here are a couple of interesting articles about why we can’t rely on recycling:
The aim of a zero waste shop is to eliminate the need for single-use plastics by providing a place where you can bring your own containers for food and goods. You can also purchase sustainable items for beauty, home and kitchen that can either decompose or be used again. If you haven’t got containers, or have forgotten them, you can still purchase goods in recycled and compostable paper bags.
By making a choice in how and where you spend your money, this has a wider impact on large corporations that produce huge quantities of harmful waste. We have already seen that the rise of zero waste shops on the high street, set up by independent owners at great personal expense, are starting to push our supermarkets to change their ways.
It is really important to me that every aspect of the shop has been considered through a lens of sustainable and earth friendly practice. As much of the inside fixtures as possible will be pre-loved furniture and old scaffolding boards from a local wood recycling centre rather than buying new. I have begun to seek out suppliers that have sustainable practices and that deliver produce in as little plastic as possible. Some plastic is necessary for food hygiene and shelf life but wherever we can, I would hope to source goods without a plastic covering so that the business can be end to end plastic-free for your peace of mind. I have even considered the paint I might use to decorate the shop and will be opting for linseed oil paint that is plastic-free, made without solvents and uses just natural pigments.
What will your funding make possible?
As much as possible, I will be funding the set up of the shop myself. This includes all renovation to the premises, first stock, legal fees and equipment. However, there are some costs that I’m not able to cover myself, namely the scales and EPOS system. With the size of shop I am looking to set up, I would need 3 sets of scales (1 with the till and 2 for customers on the shop floor). I have been quoted a little over £8,000 for a full system and I can partially fund this myself, but I am looking for some help from the community to top this up.
I have chosen to ask for support through crowdfunding, rather than a start-up loan, so that I can reduce the business liabilities. This gives the shop the best chance of succeeding in its early stages. This type of scales system will allow an easier and quicker shopping experience for customers and will ultimately mean that it is more enjoyable and interactive.
How does it work?
When you come to the shop, you bring with you your own containers from home. These can be any size or material so long as they are clean and completely dry. Firstly, you will need to weigh them empty, this is called the tare weight and will be subtracted from the end weight so that you only pay for the good inside. After filling your containers you can weigh and label the container or bring it to the till where we can weigh as you pay.
Thank you so much for your support with this project. I hope to be able to set up the shop in the new year around March or April. I have set up some rewards to say a big thank you for your help in seeing this achieved, which I hope you will enjoy.
All the very best,