Dear Business Manager,
I’m a long-time resident of Gippsland and I love to support local businesses ranging from makers of personal care products, to food producers, to independent retailers. I care about you and your family, and the community we live in, that’s why I shop local. It’s an investment in our future. But I also care about our environment and a sustainable future for all of us – for my family. I will vote for that future with my dollar.
Thirteen months ago, I realised I could do something about the plastic pollution emergency and significantly reduce the amount of waste I threw out each week. I realised I could stop buying all that packaged stuff you sell, or accepting all those disposable plastic items you give me with my food and drinks. Doing this has allowed me to fit year of waste in one jar.
I’m not alone, there’s a rapidly growing movement of zero waste and plastic free living advocates looking for ways to get basic living essentials with as little packaging as possible. We are more than happy to bring our own reusable containers and bags to collect food and other products sold in bulk. ‘Bulk’ allows you to save money on packaging and also allows us to determine exactly how much of something we need, saving us money. Just about anything can be sold in bulk or package free if you want it to be; stores all around the world are proving this already.
I’m writing to you to ask you to be part of the story of change in Gippsland. The story where our grandkids can’t believe we were ever so wasteful but you were part of the solution. You see, before that waste is in the hands of your customers, it’s in yours. What are you doing about this? Do you push back to suppliers? Do you use your buying power? Do you give customers a choice? I’ve had enough of limited choice.
Yes, I am just one customer writing to you and maybe you haven’t been approached by others like me, but don’t be fooled into thinking this means you don’t have other customers hoping for change. We know from sustainable behaviour research that even when people want to change their behaviour they won’t until the barriers have been removed. One of the biggest (perhaps perceived) barriers for Gippsland shoppers to overcome is that it is less convenient to shop plastic or package free (because there are so few options). People will do it if you make it easy for them. We also know that people will do what those around them do. So be a leader, get the ball rolling by welcoming sustainable shoppers with their reusable bags and containers, and make it easy for them to shop package free. At the very least aim for plastic free packaging.
I know we can do this and it’s not as hard as you might first think. I’m more than happy to chat further or help you get started.