Compromise is key to sustainable shopping says owner of new zero-waste store

By Chelsie Sewell

A new zero-waste shopping experience is available in Cambridge, encouraging people to embrace a low-impact and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

Full Circle started out as a stall on Cambridge market in 2018, but expanded into a store this year, offering customers a wider range of products, from cruelty-free deodorants to vegan cheeses. 

All products in the store are vegan, cruelty-free and use minimal packaging in order to do the least harm to the environment.

Co-owner Joanna Laibe explained how their core value is to be as ethical as possible, and intensive research is done before stocking any products.

She said: “A lot of work is done, because sometimes products are wrapped in plastic. It’s surprising that even the products that are re-usable sometimes come in plastic packaging. We also try to work with companies that offset their carbon footprint as well. We really want to be as zero-waste as we can.

“Sometimes the perfect solution doesn’t exist, and sometimes we have to choose between local- grown in the UK, or organic produce. We try to stay within Europe if possible.” 

The store encourages customers to bring containers to take their produce home, to reduce waste even more.

Megan Anderson, a sustainable shopper, said: “I think it would be great if more people shopped sustainably, however I understand it is not feasible for everyone yet. In a few years, due to global warming, it won’t be a choice, but more of a necessity, so why not make the switch now.”

Joanna said: “We are trying to be high quality but also affordable. We know that can be a problem with zero-waste shops. But the quality of the products is good, and arguably better than high-street stores.

“I feel like with the pandemic this year, people are more aware of shopping local. Usually when it is cheaper, down the line there are usually ethical issues.”

A study published in July by CGS, a global enterprise software and service company, found that 61 per cent of UK shoppers say that sustainability is important to their buying decisions, and 25 per cent are willing to pay more.

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