When The Shop at Strood Green, our very own community-run shop, was established, one of its guiding principles was to be environmentally friendly and to serve the local community in that way. This was as a result of the questionnaire that was sent to all residents in Brockham, Strood Green and Leigh in 2005, when we received a lot of comments from people who hoped our new venture would be idealistic enough to be as 'green' as possible.
Those people who have visited the shop regularly will know that we use as little packaging as possible, offering paper bags instead of plastic, selling our vegetables and fruit loose, and our eggs are offered on trays (so that people can bring their cardboard cartons back for re-use, when possible). We also have volunteers collecting and recycling our own cardboard and packaging from our (substantial) deliveries every week, so we end up producing very little waste. Our tired vegetables go to local chickens and rabbits!! And we offer our coffee grounds for people's gardens (slugs hate coffee!).
As we have over 20 local suppliers from within a ten-mile radius, some of whom deliver their vegetables to the shop by bicycle (!) we know we have reduced our carbon footprint substantially.
But we don't want to be complacent and we know there is still a lot we could do. This community is now becoming very familiar with the concept of community ownership, and we feel this can extend to other types of community initiative such as sustainability. Please help us by suggesting ways that The Shop at Strood Green could become greener! Community shops as a way forward are still in their infancy. This is officially one of the top 10 community shops in England and is often visited by people from other communities who have heard of its success - so let's lead by example! We would love to hear from you and we shall consider all suggestions.