Zero waste and sustainable living
Whatever your opinion on the matter, you can't fail to notice that the zero waste movement is now bigger than ever - with a focus on reducing single use plastics and plastic waste in general, creating a more sustainable lifestyle is fast becoming a popular choice for many people now.
With this in mind, we caught up with resident and local business owner, Kati Ramsden. Kati runs Bare Bazaar, Ashford's plastic-free specialist food shop. Spotting a huge gap in the market for a plastic-free way to shop locally, Kati took matters into her own hands and started her own outlet which stocks everything from essential grocery items to household cleaners and even personal hygiene necessities, providing an affordable, accessible way for people to shop for what they need without the added hindrance of unnecessary plastic packaging. All you do is turn up with your own containers and Kati weighs and fills them according to your needs - it's as simple as that!
While it's currently only open as an extension of Made in Ashford (located in Park Mall, just off the main high street) on Fridays and Saturdays, Bare Bazaar is proving to be an incredibly popular destination for the eco-savvy shoppers of Ashford and beyond.
Making the switch to a more sustainable way of living can be an intimidating thought, but Kati has lots of great practical advice on how to take the first steps. Read on to find out more...
Currently you’re only open as a pop-up extension of Made in Ashford on Fridays and Saturdays – do you have plans to expand on this?
Currently no, as I work 4 days a week elsewhere. However, I will shortly be taking maternity leave for which I will need to take on a staff member to cover those Fridays and Saturdays for a while so there might be an opportunity, if they can cover more days, to open more often, or if I find it easy to work with the baby in a carrier!
You’re about to have a baby; do you think this will have an effect on sustainable living?
In many ways yes. I don't claim to be an expert or an angel when it comes to sustainable living, but I try my best. In order to sustain this with a new baby in tow, a lot of organisation will be needed. With my first child, we used disposable nappies but this time we're going to give reusables a try, calling on expert help from Ashford Cloth Nappy library. I also hope to be able to prepare and freeze lots of batch meals so we don't automatically reach for heavily packaged convenience food to get us through those first weeks and months of sleeplessness when the baby comes! I am trying this year to not buy anything new, particularly clothing - as the fashion industry is rife with problems around sustainability, so I am making do with what I have, or buying second hand. The same applies to my children, I will be hitting the Nearly New Sale (NCT) to stockpile age 3-4 bits for my son, and any useful baby items - bearing in mind we have a loft full of pristine baby clothes from the first time around.
What are your top three tips for reducing plastic consumption?
- Don't try and do it all at once as it can seem overwhelming, focus on an area at a time - i.e. cleaning products or toiletries.
- Don't just chuck everything out and replace it in one fell swoop, it'll be expensive and counter productive, use up the last of what you already have first!
- Whenever you feel forced to buy something in plastic try and pick a reusable version of the same thing, i.e. a larger pot of greek yoghurt (I am thinking of the FAGE Total stuff here), has a plastic lid on it rather than just a foil cover, meaning you can reuse it again and again i.e. for leftovers, or for storing kids' craft items, or for refilling at your local refill store ;-)
What’s the best thing you’ve learnt since opening Bare Bazaar?
It always amazes me how enterprising customers can be with containers. Customers reuse plastic bread bags or paper bags from their fruit and vet, and I've seen couscous transported home in a collapsible coffee cup!
What do you think is the best method to drive behaviour change and get more people on board with this way of shopping?
I try and make it accessible to everyone. You don't have to be wealthy or trendy to shop in this way - it's just going back to the way things used to be.
You also don't have to be perfect, this graphic is so true, the more people try and make a difference, in a small way, the better. I applaud people on the small things they do to encourage them to keep doing it, not berate them for things they do less well!
Are there any blogs you read or podcasts you listen to that might inspire others on their journey to more sustainable living?
To be honest I don't as I think it's important to find your own way, and often reading these things can increase that pressure to be perfect, meaning you lose sight of the end goal, but f you need that visual inspiration, just search the hashtag #zerowaste on Instagram/Facebook to find a myriad of bloggers and zero-wasters with lots of ideas.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be your top 3 luxury items?
This question is VERY hard! Can they be fantasy items? If so I'd take a kindle with a never ending power supply, I'd also take a shampoo bar,as even on my own I'd want to wash my hair every few days, that should see me through 3 months at least. I'd also take sunscreen as with my colouring, I'd fry on a desert island!
You can see also Kati in action talking about what inspired her to start Bare Bazaar over on our Facebook page now!