A former scientist, Tom Pell, is determined to provide consumers with the option to cut down the amount of plastic that ends up in landfill and the environment. This is an issue that has become ubiquitous in recent times with the showing of BBC’s Blue Planet II and the plethora of news articles around the globe as the plastic pollution has been recognised as a ‘planetary emergency’ by the UN.

The Clean Kilo, opening Spring this year, will be a zero waste supermarket which will sell a wide range of products without all the unnecessary packaging. Customers will dispense products into containers they bring with them, use the containers sold in-store or use the free paper bags provided. Containers will be weighed before filling, then scanned & reweighed and then only the contents are paid for. Plastic is having a devastating detrimental effect on our oceans and marine wildlife as they take up to 1000 years to decompose, we must all act now before the irreversible damage goes too far.

Caption – Weigh, Fill, Scan & Reweigh and Pay. These are the four simple steps customers take to buy products from the shop. They can bring any container, as long as it’s clean and can fit on the scales.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launche to raise the funds needed to help pay for some of the more expensive equipment. This includes a till and scale system and the dispensers which make the process more hygienic than the old ‘weigh and save’ shops. The deadline for this all-or-nothing campaign is 17th January 2018 and so far 291 backers have contributed 77% of their £14,607 target.

The supermarket, which will be located in Digbeth, Birmingham, will sell a variety of food, drinks, cleaning products and toiletries. As much of the products as possible will be coming from local sources to cut down on food miles, something which is strongly encouraged by Slow Food.

Being able to buy the exact quantities desired also means that food budgets can be stretched further; allowing those who struggle to put food on the table every night to buy single portion amounts, allowing them to afford all the ingredients for one meal. On average a staggering 20% of your food bill goes towards packaging, that’s hundreds of pounds a year that could be saved and a ton of food waste and plastic that could have been diverted from landfill. The Clean Kilo would like to help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean, whilst at the same time, passing on the savings they make, by buying in bulk, to their customers. At this zero waste supermarket, customers will be able to try out new ingredients because they can buy any amount, whether it is an exotic spice that you’ve not tried before or raw organic vegan chocolates! The same applies to the shampoos and cleaning products, you can try them all before you buy a larger amount!

Caption – An artist’s impression of the shop in which you can see gravity dispensers for dry food products (middle left), stainless steel drums for liquids (back left), spice & herb jars (back right), fruit and vegetables (middle front) and at the back of the shop are self-service machinery for making freshly ground peanut butter, coffee and squeezed orange juice!

The introduction of a 5p tax on plastic carrier bags at the supermarkets has had a tremendous effect on cutting plastic bag use so far; in fact 90 percent of shoppers now bring their own reusable bags to the supermarket. This shows that even tiny financial incentives can have a profound effect on consumer’s habits. The recent announcement that the government will introduce a tax on single-use plastics could then see many more people bringing their own containers, as well as carrier bags, to shops like The Clean Kilo for refills. The Clean Kilo will introduce a click-and-collect and possibly implement a container deposit scheme to help those with less time; customers would be able to order online, drop off containers to be filled and pick them up later on.

More information about the project can be found on their website and social media pages on their website www.thecleankilo.co.uk, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.