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A small good action with a huge effect

Reducing the amount of plastic we use feels like it should be simple.

Smiley Team

2 weeks ago
Reducing the amount of plastic we use feels like it should be simple.

But when even unpacking the fruit and veg from your weekly supermarket shop leads to a bin full of plastic wrappers, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

It’s a feeling Lisa Forrest knows well, and along with her friend and business partner Emily Cooke she was determined to try and do one small, good thing to cut down how much plastic her family used.

Lisa explained: “Going round the supermarket I would feel frustrated and overwhelmed.

“Retailers don’t make it easy and everything I wanted to buy was wrapped in so much plastic. I found it really hard to make ethical choices in my shopping.

“I spoke to friends and they felt the same, people were tying themselves up in knots about how to get a weekly shop that wouldn’t fill up the bin with plastic wrappers.”

Their conversations led Lisa and Emily to consider starting a traditional greengrocer’s in their hometown of Bolton, Greater Manchester.

Lisa said: “Neither of us had any experience in running a shop or being a greengrocer, Emily was an education officer and I’m on sabbatical from my job as a community worker.

“But we signed up for a business course and decided to give it go.”

They started selling their organic fruit and veg first on a stall at a local school fairs and then moved into their local pub, using the bar as a fruit and veg stall on a Saturday morning when it would otherwise have been shut.

“The response was great so when a shop on my road became available we went for it,” says Lisa.

They called the store A Small Good Thing, aiming to help people realise that if we all did one small, good thing in reducing plastic then huge changes could be made.

Lisa said: “We have had a fantastic response from the community. So many people tell us they love being able to buy fresh, seasonal and organic produce from a local shop, on the high street, with zero plastic waste.”
High Streets around the UK are in peril, with a recent report stating the number of shoppers has fallen by 10 per cent in the last seven years.

Online shopping has been blamed, but Lisa believes local, community-based shops have a huge amount to offer.
She said: “We’ve never been more connected digitally, thanks to social media. But when you go into a local shop you get personal, face to face interaction and you feel part of your own community which is invaluable for your mental health and wellbeing.”

A Small Good Thing have used their shop to run events such as kids book swaps, poetry readings, comedy gigs and textile workshops, and they also run a monthly walk in the woods followed by a home-made soup and a chat.
Lisa said: “None of us are perfect, I drive a car for example. But if you want to cut down on your plastic use then I’d encourage everyone to investigate their local greengrocer or market and try shopping there. You won’t regret it.”

To find out more about A Small Good Thing go to their Facebook and follow them on Twitter @GoodThingVeg

 

By Jenna Sloan

 

 
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