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The Cambridge crowdfunder which is aiming for zero-waste shopping

Opinion by Emma Thomas, of Full Circle

Last year I sat in the audience at the Cambridge Climate Change and Sustainability Forum fighting back tears. For the last five years I’d given my life to the front lines of conservation research but as I listened to my fellow scientists, the realisation that I had been in the wrong place hit me. I should have been here, changing consumer behaviour.

Some of my research had been on sea turtles so I started giving talks on the plastic crisis which is how I met my colleagues, Johanna and Paul. Zero waste shops had begun springing up around the country but Cambridge was eerily quiet. We became increasingly frustrated with the inescapable packaging and single-use items and kept thinking “someone should do something”.

So, six months ago we created Full Circle and started by selling plastic-free and reusable zero waste essentials at Repair Cafes, on Cambridge Market and at community events. People seem relieved to see us, like they’ve been in a battle with single-use plastic forever but just didn’t know where to go.

We’ve now added refillable cleaning products to our range, but we’ve always known that Full Circle needs to be selling food. This will mean individuals can bring their own containers to refill at the Full Circle stall on Cambridge Market, at community events around South Cambridgeshire, and also receive packaging-free home deliveries by electric van. Full Circle has a new (or is it old?!) method of retail to navigate which is more costly than just placing stock on shelves. Full Circle aims to make it convenient to not only ditch plastic but to limit carbon, water, land use and biodiversity loss as well as supporting good workers’ rights. That’s a lot to think about but we’re taking on the challenge. The planet simply cannot wait.

To bring packaging-free food to Cambridge we need help from everyone who believes in what we’re doing. To support Full Circle please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/zero-waste-store-for-cambridge.

With heartfelt thanks to Cambridge Carbon Footprint for inviting us to be guest contributors to their column and for encouraging us to support all the fabulous local Repair Cafes.

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