Plastic Free July - An interview with Julie from Loose, Stroud

Posted by Alice White on

This we we've had the pleasure of chatting to Julie, owner of Loose, a zero waste shop in Stroud. 
  • What made you want to start a zero waste/eco store?

Funnily enough an eco-store was not my original plan. It all stemmed from an interest in green cleaning products. I was thinking of doing something mobile and conversations were had about a low risk shop came up in town, so I took the opportunity! But this was not a long-term plan, but I have always been quite interested in the impact in the planet.

  • Tell us more about your zero-waste business?

We opened in April 2018. This is a very supportive sector, there are Facebook groups for people considering the shop/ have a shop and they are all very collaborative in the sense that everyone helps each other and it’s not competitive. Everyone works as a unit through sharing useful info on suppliers and any issues and how to solve them etc.

  • I guess you are all driving towards the same outcome of increasing awareness and making little changes for a larger impact. Do you feel like the impact has been evident?

It’s hard to really measure. However, if I gauge it by the amount of paper sacks of produce that have gone through the shop in place of plastic packaging along the way. The challenges of larger business would mean that a lot of planning to make those changes, it’s easier to turn a smaller boat around like mine.

  • What challenges have you personally faced?

The logistics of doing it without investing large quantities of money in investors.  I set mine up for about 5000, so you can set it up on a small budget, but some people set up for triple that amount.

  • Do you think the world has become more eco- conscious?

In Stroud, we have a kind of alternative movement here. We are a transitioned town and we have a local community supported agriculture scheme, there are lots of initiatives in place like Glastonbury and Totnes. So, our view here in Stroud is that these changes are happening, but I do not know if that’s the case for more affluent areas.

I don’t think we’re anything near close to impacting the world at a global scale. I know within my own small community it’s quite difficult. No way near the protectory, but it is worth trying to change that. I feel that society really needs a different focus away from the materialistic world. I think people believe that they are small fish in a big pond, but you never know how far your ripple that you create reaches. It is so important to educate one another.

  • What tips do you have for anyone who is looking to start an eco-journey?

Don’t try and do it all at once. Do not start with changes that shock the system and make you revert to your old ways. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Choose two behaviors and change those and leave it for a couple of weeks and then see how they work. Continue with them and once that is embedded them gradually you can make them more and more. There is also a fundamental question: if you’re going to buy something, is it a want or a need? In a society of consumer culture, we should be elevating the people and businesses with morals and ethics in mind.

  • What’s your favourite product in your store?

Bees wax, bentonite clay, rose petals and the basics for cleaning.  Anything made locally.

  • What’s your bestseller?

Loose oats and nuts. We have quite a big vegan community in Stroud.

  • What’s next in your eco journey?

            I’ve been serving everybody in the shop and I’m about to implement a self-serve area of the shop.

You can find out more about Loose from the links below. If you're ever in Stroud, pop by and say hello!

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