Goodbye zero waste shopping!

Filed in Blog by on December 2, 2009 10 Comments
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Mrs Green standing at the Budgen's erm, 'deli counter'

Mrs Green standing at the Budgen's erm, 'deli counter'

It’s a sad, sad day at zero waste towers.

We love our local Budgens store. It’s a franchise and the manager is a guy who really cares.

He has turned the store around bringing in fresh, local produce (which actually comes in vans from the farm itself and is not sent to a massive distribution depot miles way before being driven back to the store). He has increased the range of fairtrade and organic products, ensures checkout staff ASK  rather than Assume whether you need carrier bags or not and has recently stocked a range of naked toiletries similar to LUSH,

This week we were merrily filling up our trolley with our unpackaged treats when I spotted something amiss.
A couple of staff were stacking shelves that I had never seen before with Christmas goods – the usual chocolates, Christmas puddings and advent calenders.

it took me a moment to figure out what was different before the penny dropped.

These shelves were in the same space as the deli counter used to be.

I checked myself for Alzeimers; no it was ok I could name the Prime minister and knew what year it was – phew!

I assumed the new shelves were not for life and just for Christmas – perhaps boxed chocolates sell better than lumps of cheese. We decided to investigate anyway.

Alas we were told that the deli counter had gone to its final resting place. It was not profitable to run it, but we were assured most of the lines were available pre packed.

Aaaaaargh – not the ‘good news’ I want to hear.

The manager was very sympathetic, I have to say. He really gets the whole ‘zero waste’ idea and was most apologetic as we mourned the loss of our favourite deli counter.

It was in that very shop we first took our reusable containers and gleefully had them filled with cheese, sliced meat, hummus and sun dried tomatoes.

The staff were friendly and interested in what we were doing and always very obliging. We even convinced a couple of them to give it a go themselves next time they shopped.

So it is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to our local deli counter and hello to Christmas pudding.
It doesn’t really go well with salad though, does it?


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (10)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Christmas fare takes over for the month, and more, but we soon get bored with the stuff after New Year, though I did once keep a box of Christmas chocs for my birthday in February, when the taste for chocolate was fresh again. These days I prefer unpackaged or card/tinfoil offerings.

    Your container options were fine there and it is sad to see the Zero Waste service ending. There is a plastic agenda being pushed against consumers, like us. The best answer is to keep the pressure up on the website, with all our support, and find alternatives elsewhere. We are winning the arguments and now see businesses with a similar outlook. They have no answer to Tetra Pak, yet!

  2. Sarah says:

    Alas the power and pressure of commercialism is relentless and so subtle that we don;t even see the misinformation some times.

    The plastic wrap/vacuum sealed packaging isn’t any more hygienic or safe and in some cases can make things worse – sweaty potatoes anyone? But we’ve been taught to not think, to simply accept that this is necessary and we’re afraid to say No, I don’t want that.

    Well, many people are anyway… Obviously not you Mrs Green.

  3. What a real disappointment. It must be hard for the Budgens franchisee too, especially as the stores are building a good reputation of sustainable action. Gotta day Mrs G, all that merchandising in the photo is giving me the shakes. Good luck in finding alternatives. x

  4. Oh, that’s a pity. One of the things I enjoy about shopping the deli at my local whole foods place is it’s really fresh — and I can bring my own containers.

    Even there, unfortunately, I’m seeing more of an emphasis on packaged foods. They’re bringing more stuff in from outside, and selling less in bulk. All the more reason to buy raw materials and do it myself.

    Hummus is a gentle art, after all.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, well the simple truth for Budgens is that they have now lost my custom for all deli products, which means I am more likely to go elsewhere for my entire shop. It’s a shame, but we have to use our power as consumers to vote with our money,

    @Sarah: Hi Sarah, I agree about the plastic wrap scenario. The other day I had to return something to the store for refund; it had gone off way before the best before date because it had sweated inside the plastic – not a pretty sight.

    @Almost Mrs Average: Thanks Mrs A – we’ll be patronising our local Co-Op instead who will have a thriving deli counter 😉

    @Chris Baskind: Hi Chris; it’s the end of an era for sure. We’ve come to rely on that deli counter accepting our own containers for reuse; but there we are – the times they are a changin’!
    I found humous in a glass jar this week; that was quite a spectacular find 😀

  6. LJayne says:

    That’s a shame and lucky you to have an alternative. One of the things, and there aren’t many, that I don’t like about where I live is that there aren’t many parades of shops where such things thrive. We have a local butchers but he doesn’t sell cooked meat – ham and the like – or cheese very much because he’s only got limited space and he does a roaring trade in meat.

    So I have to use some kind of shop. Our local Budgens is walkable to but doesn’t have a deli counter. There is a big italian deli but it is in the next village about 5 miles away and I’m not sure about the trade off between driving there and having no waste packaging.

    I guess it depends on your overall aim. Zero waste or, on balance, the greenest of the options each time.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @LJayne: Hi lesley, when I think about it, we are extremely lucky with our choice as shops; especially as we live somewhat ‘off the beaten track’. You highlight an important issue about zero waste and the overall green picture; it depends on personal choice.

  8. Layla says:

    Oh, sorry to hear about no favorite deli!

    You are right to vote with your wallet & just shop elsewhere!!

    I am afraid that our deli & shop (mini-supermarket) might go bust after one or two more supermarkets are built locally, as we’re such a small town!!
    (I dread the thought of going to the other supermarket/s & having to educate all staff again, sigh!)

    Well, maybe at least this way ‘the message’ will reach more people?
    (If not all the same old ones who might be re-employed in new supermarkets, yikes!)

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Layla: Hi Layla, it is a shame when smaller, local shops go out of business due to supermarkets moving in. I just hope they do employ the local staff. Tescos want to move in to our local town and have already said they will not give staff from the local smaller store jobs for at least 2 years – that’s just mean 🙁

  10. Layla says:

    Oh, that’s really simply mean!!

    I was wondering a few years ago why people in the USA protested supermarkets being built!!
    Now I know!!!

    We’re such a SMALL town, and already we have three+ supermarkets!! We don’t need any more!!
    (And on beautiful no-hill ex-fields too! yikes!)
    /Yup, there’s a road near-by, so growing groceries near the road isn’t so fab, but it’s not so busy, and eg biodiesel plants or such could be grown there, no?
    I wonder what will happen if/when Peak Oil hits in, and if there’s no more cheap food for overseas??/

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