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INTERVIEW: Slates General Food Store

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Slates General Food Store, Bridge Street, are acting to reduce plastic waste by enabling consumers to purchase every-day goods with ‘bring-your-own’ containers.

Business owners Dan and Cherise began their packaging-free products line 3 weeks ago and the initiative has been met with enthusiastic responses from locals and students alike. For the past year, they have been providing ECOVER refill services to their clientele and are currently seriously engaging with the of supplying no-waste, plastic-free services. Dan was happy to talk and explain the logic behind the scheme:



Can you explain why you decided to go plastic-free and why you think it is an effective move?


“You cut your packaging use which is obviously fantastic but this is also about cutting down on food waste and only buying what we need as well. Equally it’s about delivering value for money, because if there were enough people who just wanted to save the planet we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. So there has to be a reason for people to make a long-term change in their behaviour, it has to go beyond just being a novelty. We have to actually get people to change their behaviour long-term.”

 

What triggered the decision to transition?


It was a gradual process for us as a business and personally as well, living in a small-holding, we’ve evolved how we do things at home. We’ve looked at how we can bring those values into our business as well. We listened to a lot of our customers and received feedback from the ECOVER products. All of that, together with the wider awareness about plastic as well as climate reports. It came to the point where we said ‘we really have to do this’ and we have to do this in a way that makes it easy for people to make small changes to their behaviour in the hope that those small changes will add up: that’s really what it’s about.”

 

He went on to explain the inter-generational gap in understanding,

With the older generations it very much ‘we need to change what we’ve always been doing’, whereas for the students we’ve found straight away that they know, they’re impatient and they’re asking ‘where have you been?’… ‘we’ve been waiting for this’. So there’s very much a split between the generations. We’ve found the university students have made the effort to walk for 40-45 minutes across here with their bags full of jars ready to go. In their heads they know they need to behave differently to the generations before them. They’re understanding is well in advance.

The shop has 40 different types of foodstuffs (oats, nuts, grains, pasta, and sugar etc.) and the owners would love to expand the range providing customers are responsive to the scheme. If you often find yourself complaining about plastic waste, this is your chance to support a business that is making a conscious effort to reduce it. This is your chance to make a change and go PLASTIC FREE.

facebook.com/SlatesFood

 

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Anna Ray

Environment Editor 2018-19

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