Plastic-free outlet in Crickhowell wants to sell more organic, locally produced food - if it can find it.
It is Wales’ first zero waste High Street shop, offering mainly organic food and lifestyle products without any plastic packaging. Customers of Natural Weigh in Crickhowell are able to bring their own containers and fill them with mostly sustainably-produced foods - paying only for the food that goes into them.
Watch their video to see how it works:
But that’s not where the story ends. Natural Weigh is mainly organic and mostly sustainable because its owners, Robin and Chloe Masefield, have not yet been able to find all the locally-sourced, organic products they want to stock. And they don’t claim to be a completely plastic-free business, because they haven’t yet been able to find enough wholesale suppliers who use paper packaging rather than plastic.
“It is just not possible at the moment to find suppliers for everything we want in the way we want it,” Robin said. “We try to source all our produce from suppliers who use only paper packaging – even if that means we pay a bit more,” he said. At the moment, around 60 per cent of Natural Weigh’s produce is supplied in paper – but they are pressing their suppliers to change. “At the moment, we have to make a choice,” Robin said “either we reject all produce which comes in bulk plastic and force customers to shop elsewhere where or we give them a choice of using their own containers which means a significant if not complete reduction in overall plastic waste.”
And Robin and Chloe have similar frustrations when trying to source locally-produced and organic produce – around 10 per cent of what they sell is sourced locally, including traditionally-ground flour from a nearby mill and natural deodorant produced about 20 miles away. But Chloe would like to do more: “We made our priority to be organic over local or even British – but organic and local is still our ambition.”
The couple say there is massive interest from shoppers who want to shop zero waste and sustainably. “A lot of our customers ask us where our food comes from and there is clearly an appetite for more sustainably produced locally sourced food sold through shops like ours - we just hope the supply chain will catch up soon”.
Natural Weigh’s website is: www.naturalweigh.co.uk.