Emily Smith talks about the zero waste movement in Jersey with Kaspar Wimberley and Sonya
Lavery who each own zero waste shops in Jersey.
There is something quite nostalgic about shopping in Jersey’s zero waste shops.
Customers often leave both SCOOP and Mini Mall with wicker baskets full to the brim with loose produce, paper wrapped loaves and their own containers filled with pantry staples. There’s not a plastic bag in sight and everyone leaves with just the right amount of what they need.
Glass jars scatter the shelves of both the zero waste shops filled with everything from flours, grains, pasta, dried fruits and nuts, oils, spices and herbs. Both stores also sell household washing detergents and bathroom staples in bulk, ready to decant into customers own smaller containers.
SCOOP (The Sustainable Co-operative) also sell a wide range of loose organic produce and Mini Mall (minimal impact living) sells sustainable clothing and has an organic salad bar.
‘Children come in with their parents and say to them “this is how we want to shop” and then we have elderly people coming in with their grandchildren saying, “this is how we used to shop,”’ explains co-founder of SCOOP, Kaspar Wimberley.
Becoming Jersey’s first zero waste shop in August 2018 was Mini Mall, which was an idea born from mum-of-one, Sonya Lavery. Situated on Hillgrove Street, Mini Mall is a hub of activity and a popular place for both eco-conscious office workers to grab their lunch and islanders to do their weekly shop with as little environmental impact as possible.
The minimalist décor of chipboard walls, wooden stalls and high tables sits perfectly with the shelves of glass jars filled with a wonderful mix of dried goods. It could almost be an old-fashioned village sweet shop.
Sonya, who is originally from Ireland and has a background in architecture, said: ‘When Ida was born, I took note of what I was buying, and I didn’t want to shop in big supermarkets. I found I was going around the island buying things from different shops - with a small baby I really didn’t have the time to do that.
‘I wanted to create a shop where I could make life easier for people and have everything in one place.’
Sonya was following the zero waste movement closely in the UK and was already running her own sustainable clothing business from her home.
‘The premises came up in town and the whole idea started to come together,’ she said. ‘I had always been into food so that idea came into Mini Mall. It’s amazing what you can do in one place and I love the space.’
Following in Mini Mall’s footsteps, SCOOP opened shortly after. SCOOP is run as a co-operative with more than 100 members.
With a background in performing arts, co-founder Kaspar moved back home to Jersey after spending time working in Europe. After arriving home he founded The Morning Boat with his partner Susanne Kudielka, a public art programme focused on agriculture and fishing practices in Jersey. ‘While working on the project I started exploring the relationship between conservation and food production,’ Kaspar explains. ‘Eating organic food is not just about making improvements to your health – it’s also about protecting the island’s natural resources and biodiversity, both of which are vital to our long term prosperity.’
Through The Morning Boat, Kaspar met food systems researcher India Hamilton, who shared similar positions on organic farming, circular economies and reducing waste. The pair found themselves discussing the idea of opening a shop and the first SCOOP was born in St Brelade. SCOOP moved to La Bienvenue Farm in St Lawrence earlier this year. SCOOP prides itself on selling seasonal organic food and Kaspar wants to make people aware that the shop is inclusive for everyone, with a range of items for all budgets and a programme to support low income families with a 25 per cent discount.
‘Opening SCOOP provides an opportunity for those who care about the environment to shop in the way they want to. I’m hopeful that more people’s habits will change as shops like SCOOP become the norm.’
Mini Mall founder, Sonya says she has only received positive feedback since opening. She said: ‘There is a movement in Jersey now and there are a lot of people who are really passionate about zero waste.
‘Life would be much easier if we could all think the same way but we don’t. It’s great that there is this younger generation who are really passionate about saving the planet.’ Kaspar adds: ‘Looking after the planet needs to be an urgent response and I think people are starting to realise that. We need to take action. Jersey has a fantastic opportunity as a small jurisdiction to make positive changes.’
Both SCOOP and Mini Mall are open daily, except Sundays, and more information can be found on their Facebook pages.