Our goal is to open a vegan zero waste shop in Norwich selling a wide range of food and household items. All items will be vegan friendly and will be sourced as ethically and locally as possible. You will be able to bring your own containers or use our paper bags and buy as much or as little as you want minimising wastage and reducing costs. Some of the bulk food products we will stock are: pastas, rice, lentils, beans, baking products, vinegar's, herbs, spices, dried fruits, nuts, seeds. As well as non-food items such as shampoo bars, soaps, bamboo toothbrushes, toothpaste, reusable wipes etc. We will also be selling refill household products including laundry detergent, washing up liquid, fabric conditioner and surface cleaner.
The zero waste shop will be run as a social enterprise. This means it's operated like a normal business but the profits are reinvested back into the business and local community to help tackle environmental issues. Below is a bit more about us:
Ethical Ernie Zero Waste is a social enterprise on a mission to tackle food and packaging waste. We support suppliers who trade ethically and whose products make a positive effect on the environment. Our business model revolves around the 5 R's, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot and we use the principles of a circular economy where possible. Profits will be reinvested back into the business and spent on local initiatives to help promote our mission and benefit the local community.
We are Graham and Laura and for the last year or so we have run an online vegan/plastic free shop called Ethical Ernie. After learning about the problems associated with single use plastics and wanting to do more to help opening our plastic free shop seemed the next logical thing to do. The response we received was overwhelmingly positive so we decided to branch out and started doing various craft markets as well as having a stall on Norwich Market.
Again, the response we received was incredible and it soon became clear there was a real desire for a zero waste shop in Norwich. After many, many hours of research and number crunching, plus analysing the results from our survey we decided it was time to take the plunge and open a Zero Waste Shop in Norwich :-)
What's wrong with plastic?
Not all plastic is bad! For certain uses plastic is a great material but single use plastic is where the problem lies. Plastic water bottles, toothbrushes, food packaging, plastic bags, coffee cups, straws, wet wipes are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to polluting our waterways.
- The equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the oceans every minute. That's 8 million pieces a day!
- Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.
- Recent studies have shown plastic in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined.
- One million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world with only a small amount recycled. The rest end up in landfill or in our oceans.
Plastic production is increasing every year but people are starting to take notice of the problem and with the help of programmes like Blue Planet 2 attitudes are starting to change.
What Will The Money Be Spent On?
We are currently searching high and low for a suitable premise and have funds put aside to pay for that. All money raised will be spent turning it into a zero waste shop to be proud of. This includes:
- Scales and POS system to ensure a simple and effective shopping experience - £740
- Shop fittings. Shelving, cabinets, counters etc - £1200
- 35 Gravity dispensers to allow quick and easy distribution of our food products - £2536
- 15 Scoop bins for the messier items like flour, sugar and other powders - £512
- Initial food stock. All the cereals, nuts, dried fruits, vinegar's etc - £1900
- Expanding our non food items such as soaps, shampoo bars, deodorants and reusable face wipes etc - £750
- Jars and other dispensers for herbs, spices, vinegar's and refillable cleaning items - £400
Who Is The Shop For?
The shop is for anyone and everyone! Whether you are a seasoned zero-waster, someone just starting on a plastic free journey or someone who just wants to come in and have a look around you'll be welcome in our shop. Our customers will be at the heart of everything we do and we want to encourage as many people as possible to come into our shop and have a look around.
How will shopping here be better for the environment?
- You can bring your own containers to fill up which means less single use plastic waste.
- No product in the shop will contain plastic or be packaged in plastic meaning less waste will end up in landfill or polluting our waterways.
- Buying the food unpackaged will mean cheaper prices and space for a bigger variety of products.
- Food wastage will be reduced as you can buy as little or as much of any product as you like.
How does it work?
You can either bring your own containers from home, buy one in our shop or use our paper bags. Weigh your container, fill it up from our bulk dispensers and pay. Simple as that, no packaging and only buy as much as you need which reduces wastage and minimises costs. Non food items such as shampoo bars, toothbrushes, cotton buds etc all come in plastic free packaging and we will also offer refills of household cleaning products such as laundry liquid, washing up liquid, fabric conditioner and hand soap.
Why not go to a bank for a loan? As well as the questionable ethical practices of many of the high street banks, starting a business saddled with debt will only lead to higher prices and less focus on giving customers what they want. Starting debt free will allow us to invest much more of the profits back into the business and community and allow us a much greater freedom in what we do.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you are interested in our project and believe in our vision but can't donate there are still other ways that you can help us:
- Like and share any posts we put on Facebook and Instagram. This will help spread the word and encourage more people to back our project.
What Happens If You Done Raise Enough Money?
If we don't successfully raise enough money to succeed in our campaign then all money donated will be automatically refunded to you.
Graham & Laura