This month we’re in…Zero Green! Check out Sophie’s latest interview, this time with pioneers of Bristol’s zero-waste movement, Stacey Fordham and Lidia Rueda Losada. Sophie Harvey-Rich is a member of our Young Women’s Advisory Board.
Nestled into the welcoming community of North Street in Bedminster, the zero-waste shop of Zero Green was the first of its kind to come to Bristol when it opened in February earlier this year. Six months on, other waste-focussed outlets are popping up – from Gloucester Road to as far out as Weston-Super-Mare – and its founders Stacey and Lidia are still living the dream. We talk about their inspirations, motivations, plus the whole load of dedication it took to build their own business from scratch.
Names: Lidia Rueda Losada & Stacey Fordham
Job Title: Founders of Zero Green
Qualifications: Just GCSEs!
What was it that triggered the idea behind Zero Green?
We were both concerned and frustrated by the amount of single use plastics when food shopping and the lack of plastic-free choices for the environmentally conscious. This coincided with reading and seeing lots about plastic’s devastating effect on our oceans and overall environment. This gave us the Zero Green vision: create a shop that we would want to shop in, and one that had a real impact on our customers’ waste.
What were the biggest hurdles you faced?
Finding our lease was very time-consuming, and securing it even more so – our landlord had no idea what zero waste was. However, this made us want it even more, as it demonstrated how unaware the public were of this vital issue.
Tell us a bit about your average work-day
A typical day begins at around 8.30 preparing the shop for 9 o’clock opening. It’s once we’re open that the fun begins! There are so many lovely customers who share our passion for zero-waste – it’s an issue that has inspired a lot of people into action over the last year- so it’s great to be able to chat with them, as well as helping with the process in the shop. Then keeping the shop clean and full! The last hour or so is spent cleaning up, sanitising all the dispensers, and getting reset for the next day.
What was your first job in the green sector? How did you get this job?
Zero Green is the first adventure into the green sector for both of us. We both previously worked at the National Trust, so had some experience of how to run an environmentally conscious business, or so we thought… We got the job in the best possible way: opening the shop ourselves!
What advice would you give to a young woman interested in starting their own business as you have?
Do it! Don’t expect an easy ride: it takes A LOT of time and research to find premises, suppliers etc. There are 1000 decisions to be made at every turn, but we’re so glad we took the plunge.
What gets you up on a Monday morning?
Our customers! It’s a joy to have such happy, interesting people come into the shop every day.
And finally, your ideal world in 2050 would be…?!
Greener! And with a viable replacement for plastic. Hopefully society will continue to be horrified by what we are doing to our planet and we’ll finally see some real change spreading through both big businesses and smaller retailers. Plus you never know, the government might even catch on…
Written by Sophie Harvey-Rich, Young Women’s Advisory Board member, Catalyse Change CIC