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Be Free Grocer, Our Family's Journey

By Bronwyn Green


I will talk from experience about setting up a zero waste grocer in Aotearoa. I will speak about the work we do with regards to education and outreach as well as the work we do further up the supply chain to reduce back of house waste. I will also speak about the collaboration of zero waste grocers across the country which has led to the incorporation of Sustain Aotearoa: Independent Zero Waste Grocers.


This session kicks off a week of zero waste goodness. Zero Waste Network Board members and staff will welcome participants and give some background to the event before the first panel discussion begins.


Our first panel will look at reuse systems. Reuse is a cornerstone activity of the zero waste approach. Despite single-use being ubiquitous in the food & beverage industry, there are hopeful signs this could change. This session will look at what those in the business think are some opportunities and barriers for increased use of reuse systems in Aotearoa and provide insight into some of the key players and bigger picture context.


Bronwyn Green.jpg

Bronwyn Green

Sustain Aotearoa / Be Free Grocer

I am co-owner of Be Free Grocer, an independent plastic-free grocer in Palmerston North and president of Sustain Aotearoa, a newly incorporated society of independent zero-waste grocers.


Recognising that policy and industry change in the zero waste space is crucial, but can be slow, and that the need for action is urgent we were motivated to open a business that would empower and mobilise consumers to reuse on their own terms in ways that are practical and tailored to their lives.  BYO containers are often overlooked as a reuse system. However, this is one of the oldest reuse models and one of the easiest to implement swiftly and efficiently. 

We are intermediaries between suppliers and consumers and as zero-waste business owners we see it as our duty to make sure we are doing work up the supply chain to minimise waste and encourage reuse systems. Coming from a perspective where we see both up and down the supply chain gives us insights into how each stage can practically move towards a circular model of reuse.

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