Creating a Zero Waste grocery store

Groceries will have a significant impact on the environment which is why many people are opening zero waste grocery stores. Here’s why that’s a good idea.

Could 2022 be the year of sustainability? While we’ve been saying this every year for as long as we can remember, there is something about the current situation which is focusing people’s minds. From protestors such as Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Now, to politicians at COP26 the world is waking up to the climate emergency. They are helped in large part by the news which is full of the latest natural disaster hitting somewhere in the world. Floods have been followed by droughts, wildfires and tornadoes. Today, climate change is not a dim and distant threat – it’s something which is playing out every day on our TV screens.

As a result of this, sustainability is a bigger issue than ever. In the US – seldom at the forefront of climate activism – half of voters now see climate change as a critical threat. As a report from Deloitte shows, the majority of consumers are taking action to limit their personal carbon footprint with single use plastics being the most common issue. In almost every walk of life, in every market, customers are showing a desire to inject more sustainability into their buying decisions.

One of the key areas in which this is having an impact comes in groceries.

Sustainable grocery shopping

Groceries is the cornerstone of the weekly shop. Whoever you are, wherever you live and whatever the state of your finances, you’ll be doing the grocery shopping just like everyone else. The problem is that buying from the supermarkets – even local ones – comes with an environmental price.

Although the leading companies have become more environmentally conscious, they are still one of the least sustainable ways to do your grocery shopping. They produce enormous amounts of waste and can also have an impact on local economies. Having a large retailer in a town effectively sucks up money from the people and channels it out of the area.

Local businesses support the concept of a circular economy in which money gets returned into the community. It builds local wealth, supports business, creates jobs and builds prosperity for everyone. As such, from a social, environmental and economic standpoint, adjusting your grocery habits represents one way in which we, as individuals, can improve our own personal carbon footprints.

Many entrepreneurs are waking up to this fact. On the basis that demand creates supply, new businesses are springing up offering a more sustainable type of grocery store. These aim to do everything in a more sustainable way. Just as the world is looking to become carbon neutral, they are working towards the goal of becoming a zero-waste store.

This will be no mean feat. Any business operation has the potential to create waste. It’s almost impossible to cut out waste across all operations. Rather than going for perfection, though, it is worth doing the best you can, learning as you go and adopting new ways to minimise waste. The closer you look at operations, the easier it becomes to find ways to reduce and, in some cases eliminate, waste entirely.

Using energy

One of the biggest causes of waste will be in energy use. Many businesses will assume this is one factor which is out of our control. We are all connected to the mains supply, most of which comes from fossil fuels. While it is possible to implement measures to reduce energy use, it’s hard to eliminate damage altogether. However, businesses today can choose a number of ways to minimise the impact of the energy they use.

One way to do this is by going with a greener energy supplier. Companies such as Ecotricity take a more sustainable approach by delivering power generated by renewable energies. It sets itself up as Britain’s greenest energy supplier by selling green energy which it primarily generates from its 87.2-megawatt wind power portfolio.

Alternatively, you can opt for generating your electricity. There are various government incentives designed to encourage people and businesses to upgrade to cleaner energy sources. These can make it easier to afford the price of upgrading at the end of which you’ll also benefit from a low-cost energy supply, with possibly scope for selling power back to the national grid.

Recycling packaging

A zero-waste grocery store will set its sites on minimising the waste from packaging. Using recyclable materials such as cotton bags and hessian sacks to package product, they can virtually eliminate their use of plastics.

When making deliveries, for example, some companies will provide everything in reusable packaging. Customers can then transfer the product into their own containers and return the packaging with the next delivery. For first time customers, the companies may include a prepaid envelope with which customers can return the packaging if they do not wish to use the service again.

Finance and banking

Many of these measures in themselves can be costly and will add expense to your business operations. You may be able to recoup this in part by passing costs onto customers and through greater efficiency savings. Those customers who are looking for sustainable products say they are generally willing to pay more for the privilege.

Meanwhile reducing waste can also cut down on expenses. For example, a useful by-product of any measure designed to reduce energy use will be that your electricity bills go down. Those who successfully transition to renewable energies may bring their entire energy costs down to zero.

Even so, these expenses can make the cashflow balancing act even more difficult than it already is. Choosing a good partner as a financial institution, offering good terms and features, will be a critical ingredient for your future ongoing success. One of the most common reasons that businesses – sustainable or not – go bankrupt is because they lose control of their finances. Having experts take care of this, providing clear financial advice will stand your business in good stead in an emerging but uncertain market.

Free business banking that’s simple, secure, and helps you focus on what you do best

Whether you’re on-the-go or working from home, you can easily access your bank in a way that suits you. Get started for free today.

Apply in Minutes From the App

Enter a uk mobile number and we will send you a link to get the app

What we offer

What we offer