Ecoposro, Goa’s first zero waste store not only eliminates plastic use at the store level but also ensures zero waste sourcing of supplies from vendors.
Earlier this year, Jonah an underwater cinematographer and Eldridge Lobo a restaurateur came together to try and put an end to the growing garbage problem in Goa and started the state’s first zero waste store. “Our primary battle is against single use plastic,” says Jonah.
At a time when India generates 5.6 million tonnes of plastic waste, a study by The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) reveals that around 43% of the plastic manufactured in the country is used for packaging and is single use. “Though garbage management is really important, we want to reach a stage where we don’t produce garbage in the first place,” said Jonah.
Ecoposro not only eliminates plastic use at the store level but goes one step beyond to make sure no plastic waste is created while buying supplies from the vendors. “Sourcing products without plastic was a big challenge. We spoke to companies and small suppliers but they were not willing to give us anything without plastic. So we had to actually go all the way back and convince them to change the whole process of packaging itself or give them an option to package making it easier for us to pick it up,” said Eldou.
Apart from fresh vegetables, dairy products and other groceries, the store also has a range of recycled products like recycled stationery items, bamboo fibered sanitary pads, reusable sanitary pads, roofing sheets made of recycled tetra packs, etc. Ecoposro also works with organizations like Bamboo India and waste management companies like Sahas which helps them go zero waste.
“A regular grocery store is full of plastic. The beauty that we get to see in Goa is already disappearing. If more people decided to go zero waste it would only make Goa the way it was before,” said Eldou. Shopping at Ecoposro is also a rewarding experience for its customers. “ I know I’m going back in a cloth bag with just the stuff I’m going to consume or I’m going to reuse. There’s zero stuff here that is going into the trash can. That makes me very happy,” says Arvind, a customer.
The owners of Ecoposro strongly believe that a change in the mentality of consumers can pave the way for zero waste stores across the country. “In India we luckily still have ration shops and wholesale shops where you can go and pick up whatever you want lose. It’s just the mental state where you know that I don’t want to produce waste so when I go out the next time I’m going carry a cloth bag in my pocket or extra bags in my scooter,” said Jonah.
Video and Article by Kavyasri Srinath, a Producer-Writer at Video Volunteers