Nature's Intention brings the zero waste lifestyle to Bromsgrove
It seemed an absurd idea to me initially, but then I thought about it a little more, looked at the pictures again and thought, why not? Who's going to do it otherwise? That was just eight months ago! I'd been planning to go travelling, but this seemed more important.
I'm still on the journey towards zero waste, and now my family's getting involved! Having the shop helps me learn more every day and hopefully it'll be a benefit to the community as well.
At Nature's Intention, we offer a range of store cupboard food essentials in dispensers: nuts, pulses, oils, vinegars, flours, chocolate, herbs, spices and more. You pull a lever to get exactly how much you need. That's what most people come in for: 'I'm making this recipe tonight, so I need this amount'. Because you can take as much or as little as you want, the dispensers help cut back on food waste.
I focus a lot on the non-food items, because I noticed that was probably a bigger part of the plastic problem. So we've got quite a wide range of vegan friendly, biodegradable and reusable products, anything from toothbrushes to sanitary protection to nappies and straws.
The majority of people bring their own reusable bags and containers. I've actually asked customers if I can take a picture of their basket with all their own containers. It makes me so happy!
The shop opened on Saturday 28th July and everyone has been really positive. People have a look round and then come back later to shop. And they're saying, 'Thank you for opening this up, it's just what we needed'. Goes to show that all the stress in the lead up to opening was worth it!
We already have quite a few regulars, people who come in almost every day. I'm starting to get to know the customers – someone will pop in and end up chatting for half an hour. Everyone's so lovely. There's a real community feel here, with lots of activities: litter picks, a Friends of the Earth group, even a repair café.
It's been a very steep learning curve, but it's nice to be doing something that means something to me, and to be able to talk to the customers and find out what they want. I get really good suggestions every single day. 'Can you do this? Can you stock that? Have you heard of this?' I'm running out of space already – I might need to branch out into bigger premises soon!
"I'm really hoping that this plastic free mindset catches on, and people will become more aware of how every action we take has a consequence.
"Recycling is an option, not a solution. It still takes up road miles, uses energy. We need to move towards reducing, reusing, repairing. In three years' time, as well as a shop, I'd like to have a café where people can come and repair their things, learn how to sew and make their own zero waste products. I'm dreaming big!"
All of us here at Greenredeem wish Emily the best of luck and continuing success!
- Address: 2-4 High Street, Bromsgrove, B61 8HQ – at the start of Worcester Road.
- Opening hours: 9am-6pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; late opening on Thursdays, 10am-7pm; Sundays, 10am-4pm; closed on Mondays.