Here at Locavore we want everything we do to have as little impact on the environment as possible. We aim to think and act in a circular way. This means working strategically across the organisation to ensure the flow of materials is connected – that things are used and reused, that produce from the farm is connected to the cafe via the shop floor, and that we have a strict purchasing ethos which ensures quality, local and ethical items and produce are bought.
Our funders Zero Waste Scotland have helped Locavore reduce retail packaging and food waste by providing funding for infrastructure and staff time. With their money the we have expanded our variety of ‘fill your own’ loose goods (such as pulses, grains, pastas, flours, herbs and spices), purchased a milk vending machine to supply milk in glass milk bottles, and introduced a greater range of refillable household and beauty products plus a variety of refillable oils, vinegars and sauces. While we still provide packaged options of many items we are introducing more loose and refillable options in an attempt to tackle the global plastic epidemic.
The introduction of our Locavore Kitchen has allowed us to process any unsellable/gluts of fruit and veg, to serve on our tasty menu or to sell as frozen meals and preserves. This allows the maximum amount of our organic produce to end up in the customers’ tummies rather than being composted! We have purchased a number of machines to help us with this. Our chillers and salad washer/dryer allow for a longer initial shelf life on produce. Kitchen appliances such as a vegetable preparing machine, blast chiller and blender result in us being able to to efficiently process food into edible products.
We have reassessed our veg box system to ensure minimal waste. Whereas we previously used plastic bags, we have purchased reusable cardboard boxes, which have a longer lifespan. The Large and Extra Large are now delivered in foldable plastic crates, which are unlimited in their use. To prolong the shelf life of our milk, we now keep it in insulated bags in the vehicles, so as to ensure it is chilled on delivery. We have considered our current use of plastic bags to keep salad leaves fresh and we’re yet to find a sustainable, effective alternative. In the collaborative spirit of Locavore, we have opened the discussion to find a solution to this.
We continually strive to reduce avoidable waste coming in to the shop and work out ways it can be reused or recycled. Landfill is always the last option! Two of our biggest suppliers Suma and Greencity have agreed to take back their plastic pallet wrap and other packaging for recycling. We collect bottle tops and other plastics for local makers Still Life who melt it down and turn into sellable products as well as Ella’s Kitchen (and other brand) baby food pouches and send them back for recycling through their Ellacycle programme. We’re also in the process of sourcing a baler so that we can more economically recycle our two main waste streams: cardboard and soft plastics.
Throughout the year we will be running workshops and events to engage our customers and the wider community in achieving their waste reduction aspirations. We hope these events will provide a space for discussion and creativity, whereby we can all share techniques towards a waste free world. To achieve this we look to collaborate with local reuse/recycling projects, organise film screenings and run demos and workshops. If you have any ideas/suggestions regarding these events or any area of our waste reduction efforts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
All of this ties in to our beliefs of: fairness, a healthier environment, the power of money for good, honesty and great food. Everybody is a consumer and Locavore is here to provide customers with an ethical alternative option.