Zero-waste shop is a hit with eco-conscious customers
EAST Bristol's first high street shop which encourages customers to cut down on plastic use is attracting visitors from across the district.
Sam Lovejoy, 38, opened Preserve in Church Road, Redfield in August, making it the first high street shop in east Bristol to offer practical alternatives to single use plastics.
Preserve's sister shop launched in Gloucester Road 15 months ago with Sam's brother Tiriel and his wife at the helm.
They quickly got the bug and decided to look into opening a second branch.
Sam, who lives in St George, said: “We've been given a great reception from the local community. We've had people in from all over, obviously from Redfield but also from St George, Fishponds, Hanham, Kingswood, St Anne's, Brislington and Greenbank.
“We don't really have a typical customer. What we've tried to do as a shop is to make it accessible for everyone to come in rather than being exclusive. We worked really hard to keep our prices as low as possible.
“Customers tell me they are so grateful there is something over in the east of Bristol now. A lot of them were travelling to other shops in Bristol but felt bad about driving. They've been really happy to have a shop like this on their doorstep.”
Customers are encouraged to bring along their own containers, like jars or tubs, and fill up on food items such as rice, pasta, oats, nut, pulses, dried fruit, chocolate and sweets.
They can do the same with household cleaning products, like all-purpose cleaner, fabric conditioner and washing up liquid.
The zero waste shop also stocks a range of colourful waterbottles, metal straws, soaps, shampoo bars and deodorants.
Sam, who has three members of staff helping him, said: “The idea is that anybody can bring any container in that they have from home like jars, Tupperware, yoghurt pots and plastic bags to stop the use of single-use plastics.
“We also have items like lunch-boxes, KeepCups for coffee and reusable wax wraps which can be used instead of cling-film, to try to help people live a plastic-free lifestyle. One of the most popular items has been our vegan fudge because a lot of people who come to check out the shop want to take away something nice with them but everything is selling. Things are going really well.”
Is Preserve setting a good example to the big supermarket chains?
“They could certainly do more,” said Sam.
“I'm not quite sure why they decided we all need our fruit and vegetables in plastic. There's absolutely no need and they could definitely sell a lot more loose produce. It would be great if they did, it would help us by getting more people in the mind of shopping this way.”
Growing up in an arty household in Montpelier in the 80s, Sam was no stranger to keeping plastic use to a minimum.
“As kids we were going to Scoopaway on Gloucester Road and doing this kind of thing a long time ago. My brother had a retail background so he set up the shop originally and I've come onboard with this shop to work together. It's been great.
“It's all about doing a few little bits to help the environment. You can't do everything and be expected to go completely plastic free. The shop helps people to make small changes. If everyone changes a bit, then it would help massively.”