Zero Waste Week runs all this week until September 10th, and already there has been a flurry of activity. From workshops on how to make your own cleaning products, to talks on zero waste babies, there is something for everyone. The two big partakers in this year’s Zero Waste Week are two companies who have made it their mission to help Dublin live a zero waste lifestyle.
Small Changes wholefoods store in Drumcondra ran big events on Monday and Tuesday for Zero Waste Week. Small Changes began in 2010 in Gorey Co. Wexford, but in 2015 they made the move to Drumcondra, bringing with them their ethos of wanting to help customers reduce the amount of packaging they use, reduce food waste, and create better affordability.
Peadar Rice from Small Changes spoke of our need to act, “We are facing a huge issue with the plastic waste that we produce as a society. Small Changes was founded on ethical principles. We’re not just a shop doing this to attract more customers, we’ve always done it and promoted these issues”.
Customers can bring their own containers to the shop, who offer refills for products such as household cleaners, rice, olive oil, and over 20 different nuts and seeds. They are also an affordable alternative for shoppers because when they buy in bulk without packaging, the cost of the product is reduced.
But who according to Peadar are the most frequent shoppers? “In the last year, year and a half, we’ve seen an increase in younger people here. A lot of the younger demographic are becoming more aware, environmentally conscious, and know the need to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle”.
Dublin Food Coop have also been taking part in Zero Waste Week. After starting their story in 1983 when a group of friends got together and decided to save money by buying in bulk, they have gone from strength to strength. They are “committed to providing our members with wholesome, healthy and affordable food, expanding our range of packaging free alternatives and empowering our members to live a sustainable life”.
I spoke to Laetitia down at the coop and she said “Dublin Food Co-op is a vibrant community that goes far beyond food. True to the co-operative tradition, we offer an alternative to the profit-oriented business model – surplus funds are used wholly to benefit members by reducing prices, improving services and facilities and investing in the kind of agriculture that members support”.
And why did the Dublin Food coop decide to take part in zero waste week? “We have a strong ethos of environmentalism and vegetarianism. One of our principles is to promote the rational use of the earth’s resources. It was evident for us to be a part of this adventure. To reduce waste or live a zero waste lifestyle means to change. And to change is difficult for most of us. But together, it’s easier! Once you have the good habits, everything comes more easily”
Photo Credit: Zero Waste Festival