Green Options Zero Waste
Green Options Zero Waste is an environmentally friendly shopping experience, brought to life by Lillie Lockwood and Sam Winterflood.
Their shop in Shrewsbury Shopping centre is full of edibles and multi-use items, with them there on hand for advice. They are environmentalists offering a new, engaging style of shopping and we love it – so we asked them a few questions to find out more.
It is widely known that packaging is a rapidly growing environmental problem, with an increasing number of people seeking to avoid single use plastics. By using your own containers when you shop, you can be a part of the movement to reduce the 31 million tonnes of waste sent to landfill every year in the UK.
Lillie and Sam believe that one or two people living the most environmentally attuned lifestyle isn’t the answer, when looked at in comparison to millions of people living unsustainably. They didn’t set out on this adventure aiming to be a niche shop or a crazy new concept – they strive to be the new normal and offer accessible and affordable eco-friendly options to all.
Sam has a background working for councils and in recycling and has worked overseas in the past, he has an interest in studying structural and behavioural change in people. For example he says “Fifty years ago, no one shopped with disposable plastics, people tended to buy what they needed in manageable amounts. Food was less processed and fruit and vegetables were eaten in season due to cost. Our modern world has given us greater choice than ever before and has allowed us to try out new and exciting culinary ideas, which is amazing. Unfortunately though, this has also led to processed and highly packaged foods growing in popularity.”
When speaking about the inspiring story of Green Options Zero Waste, you can feel the passion that Sam and Lillie have for what they do. They know that shopping without single-use plastics is possible and want to make this an option for everyone.
With Sam’s background mentioned above, and Lillie’s experience in retail and environmental art, they developed the idea and worked online with other zero waste businesses, before eventually setting up a small shop as a trial in an office in Bridgnorth in February 2018. This was a big success and in April 2019 they finally secured their current shop in Shrewsbury. It was incredibly hard work completely out-fitting the shop in less than a month (we saw first hand their dedication and hands-on efforts in making it happen!).
Their first day was enormously busy! Sam said “it felt somewhat like dealing with a battle! The card reader stopped working, queues needed clearing, we were helping everyone out and clearing various spillages! We are so thankful to everyone who helped us out on our opening day”.
It was decided to go roughly 50/50 on foodstuffs and multi-use items – this made sense as passing people can call in for multi-use items and return with containers for food.
On deciding to go down the route of a pop-up shop, they explain that they had previously considered a market presence but decided against this due to the practicality and logistics of packing and unpacking the stock repeatedly. A pop-up shop on a flexible lease provides a more permanent structure for investing and increasing the stock range. In all ways it has worked out to be easier and more efficient to have a physical shop. It enables more accurate business planning and cash-flow workings and a customer base and customer relationships can be built with the reassurance of permanence and reliability.
The shop looks fantastic and Sam and Lillie are very rightly proud of their impact in the fight to reduce waste. Stories from customers that have given their products a go and found that it is easy to adapt to a less wasteful lifestyle are testimony to the importance of commitment and entrepreneurship like Lillie and Sam’s.
Sam states “at the end of the day it is our positive relationships with customers that make what we do so enjoyable”.
We asked them for their ‘Top Three’ green products and whilst this was a struggle as there are so many awesome products, the products that came out top are:
1. Metal straws – simple, stylish, reusable and start at just 99p.
2. Wax wraps – beeswax and vegan alternatives to wrap food leftovers, sandwiches and all sorts of other items in.
3. Reusable nappies and nappy accessories – can reduce huge amounts of waste and save people thousands of pounds that would be spent on disposables. They are now modern, easy to clean and a long way from the old reusable ones of the past!
Lillie and Sam dream of there being a green options style shop in every town worldwide – it would be amazing to see the idea of shopping with waste in mind being the norm for every consumer.
If you haven’t been to visit them in Shrewsbury Shopping Centre they are open 9:30 – 5pm, Tuesday – Saturday. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram and their website www.greenoptionszerowaste.co.uk.
We love Green Options Zero Waste and would encourage everyone to check out their shop – it is full of amazing products and yummy food, with the lovely Lillie and Sam on hand to have a chat about what you’re after. We are so happy that Shrewsbury Shopping Centre have supported and encouraged this pop-up to become a long term, successful and innovative shop that has been so popular with customers from day one. It really is incredible how easy some of the waste reducing switches are!