One woman is doing her bit to rebalance the perils of single-use plastic waste in the form of a zero-waste store.
Admantia Theodoros has opened up Kronos & Rhea in her bid to help people make that shift.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Admantia this week. Her answers to my questions were very revealing and showed how she has taken a lead in sustainability that we can all learn from.
The aim of this type of store is to limit the use of single plastic waste. People can use their own jars, bags and bottles to buy what they need. In doing so, reducing single waste plastic expands to eliminating food waste. There is no minimum in our shop. You can buy as much or as little as you want or need. I don’t know if we can all be 100% zero waste in our lives but the phrase makes people think.
I named the shop after two Titans as a reminder of my Greek heritage. Kronos was the God of Time and Rhea the Goddess of Agriculture.
My research also found that Kronos has been noted as the God of Time, harvest, fate, and justice. Rhea the Goddess of justice, intelligence, forethought, protection and heroes.
I do remember the moment well. Whilst on holiday, I visited a shop in Lee on Sea in Essex which had recently opened. I walked into the shop and fell in love with the community I saw within. Before that moment, zero waste did not feature highly in my life. It felt like such a strong community in the shop, full of adults and children. I went away and then did a lot of research on zero waste. I visited many places to see how they worked, shops in and out of London. This community wants to expand and grow and each owner automatically helped me. We all do things slightly differently and advise each other which is amazing. I didn’t feel like we were in competition with each other at all.
Being away from home (Greece) for 17 years, I was keen to create some roots for myself and that’s what this community is.
This shop reminds me of home. I had a simple family life. I remember stores similar to this in my childhood. We didn’t have the fancy storage units that I have in the shop but sacks for the foodstuff. I remember only going to the supermarket once a month. A shop like mine was the natural normal way to shop.
Admantia has clearly struck gold here. Collaboration without competition has enabled her business to grow.
I always go prepared to shop to avoid impulse buys. I go with a list and know what I want before I shop.
I always carry a water bottle, I even use one at home.
I find alternative shops where I can go and get what I need, one or two things rather than several.
I showed Admantia my shopping list for the day. Written on the back of an envelope with quantities aligned to my own recipes for the week. It reminded her of the lists her Grandfather used on scraps of paper.
A big pledge is to give yourself time to think. Everything starts in the mind. When I was young I never had anyone to check my spending. Start with thinking and educating yourself. Do I need this or do I want this?
We discussed how easy it is to buy and buy and not stop. Sometimes our purchases feed our emotions. Stopping and thinking and giving yourself pause points can help reduce waste in the world.
We’ve just started to sell a brand of period pants in the shops. I’m trying them out this month. Period pants are a very good alternative to the useful sanitary wear which has single-use plastic waste as a liner. The ones I am selling in the shop are £10. A brave step would be for someone to buy packs to donate them to schools for young girls to try. I know that many people do donate sanitary wear to schools. If they donated pants, we would all make a change that would benefit the environment.
We discussed how much openness there is now for women to discuss their menstrual cycle. The more we can discuss this natural part of our lives the more taboos we can break down.
It is a challenging topic and for many small businesses, their minds are currently fixed on staying open.
Next week I am taking part in a pop up zero-waste market in New Barnet. I’m joining The Wilds Cafe and the Flower Bank to host an event on Saturday 26th September. Have a look at my website for more information.
The Wilds Cafe supported many vulnerable people taking donations and food parcels plus they have their own cafe. The Flower Bank takes out of date flowers from supermarkets and makes arrangements for them to be shared with the elderly and hospitals.
I’m also supporting the September clean up the environment campaign. I’ll be opening up the shop on Sunday 27th for people to get bags and litter pick up equipment whilst they clean up Barnet.
On the 11th of October, there will be a vegan market outside the Spires in Barnet that I hope people will support.
Walk up the High Street in Barnet towards Hadley Green. We are open Monday to Saturday with a late opening on a Thursday to 7p.m.
I’m also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter plus we have a website. See links below.
Admantia went onto say –
People need to educate themselves. I know not everyone has the finances to use the zero-waste store but we can educate the children. Children need to know terms like biodegradable, compostable, zero waste.
Doctors and hospitals do need single-use plastic. Let them have it and we stop using it. Cut out the drinking straws, disposable cutlery, disposable masks etc.
I would like to help parents to educate their children by booking out slots in the store for children to explore and ask questions. A few of my customers who come in bring their children and they love the shop.
My small steps to change my shopping is to add in a trip to the shop every week. I started small buying rice, pasta and soap. Now I have extended that to spices. Have a think about what you could do to make a difference.
Admantia made her dream a reality by being curious about zero waste. She has linked her business to a higher global goal. She has led with her heart to create a new community away from her beloved Greece. The work she is doing is educating future generations. Admantia is a changemaker who we should all be supporting.
Useful links for you to follow: –