Us Londoners are pretty lucky when it comes to zero waste stores as there's now a plastic-free-shop or zero-waste shop in almost every Borough. In the suburbs and rural areas, it's not so easy to find - or convenient to find.
In Northamptonshire, our Co-Founder Rebecca's hometown, places like the Daily Bread Shop have supplied bulk volumes of baking ingredients for many years, but like many other rural towns and villages there's yet to be an easy way to shop groceries, cleaning products or health/beauty items plastic-free. However, times are changing for Northamptonshire with the introduction of a gorgeous zero-waste shop and cafe in the village of Flore: Re.
Re opening in August, after the premises next door to owners Lindsay and Navneet's own home came up for sale. Living in a village without a coffee shop, or a refill store, they decided it was time to open a place that served both purposes. We spoke with Lindsay to find out more about why they wanted to open a zero-waste store and where their passion for sustainability stems from:
Why did you decide to start Re? The more we think about it the more we realise it goes back absolutely years. But on the face of it, it's about having spent 5 years back in the UK after 20 years in Asia and being horrified at how packaged everything is, completely unnecessarily; to get any other option we had to travel. We didn't have a coffee shop in Flore, so coffee and refills seemed to go hand in hand. When Navneet and I spoke about it, we immediately agreed, costed it out, and that was that!
Why do you feel zero waste/plastic-free stores are important? More than anything we need to give people options to shop another way. If the only option that's nearby is a supermarket then it's impossible to vote with one's feet. For us, stores like our are crucial. We took a further step with Re by putting it in the heart of a village: and we've been incredibly well supported!
What are your biggest hopes for the future of the climate crisis? This is a difficult one. I'm a Politics Philosophy and Economics student in the middle of my degree so my hope-o-meter goes up and down the more I learn. My hope is that governments will start to take a holistic, global view to the crisis and we will all become more engaged in the political process, from an early age. Policies that look only at a single geographic space will solve nothing. For example, we have now seen, thanks to recent media coverage, what can happen to things we send for recycling so we need to look similarly at what happens for other 'green' processes - illegal mining, forced and child labour, environmental exploitation. My biggest hope is that we all look honestly at the bigger picture, and that governments finally provide us with the true cost of policies so we can judge for ourselves, and have the confidence through our education systems, to do so!
The opportunity to positively change how we consume our daily essentials, in everything from our food to our laundry detergent, is immensely supported by stores like Re - especially because of their location, they are providing access to to people who don't have the convenience of a well-connected city.
So, we are absolutely thrilled to announce that Re are our first partner stockist! Holding a small selection of our soaps, skincare range and fabric accessories, Re are the first zero-waste store to stock Conscious House products and we couldn't be more happy to partner with such a beautiful store and committed small business.