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Re. Source General Store: Combatting Plastic Waste

By Taryn Everdeen.

It's 2019, and we are more conscious than ever of our impact on the planet. Triggered by the Friday vigils and rallying cries of 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, the last year has seen a wave of environmental protests, with millions of people globally taking to the streets to express their anger at the impending climate crisis. Protesting and putting pressure on policymakers is one way that people are taking change into their own hands.

Another approach to tackling the climate crisis is through individual action; in recent years, there has been an exponential increase in those opting for a vegan diet, and the zero waste movement has seen a surge of people strive to reduce their trash to nothing.

Fed up with being unable to buy the things she needed without endless amounts of packaging, Cata Parrish decided to set up Re. Source General Store in Norwich, England. The walls are lined with shelves and shelves of dried goods like rice, pasta, and lentils, jars of nuts and dried fruit spread across counter tops. The shop aims to reduce customers' waste as much as possible, encouraging them to bring their own containers and fill them up with as little or as much as they need, eliminating single-use plastics and cutting down on food waste. They stock a selection of fresh, organic vegetables, and offer ethically produced gifts - minus the packaging.

But why stop there? Alongside the main shop is the zero-waste café, run by 20-year-old Cushla Greeves. Each day, she serves a simple menu, crafted from locally-sourced vegan ingredients. Everything is made from scratch, including the plant milks and butters, produced in a regenerative cycle: any food waste is sent to Norwich FarmShare, who turn it into compost to grow their vegetables, which Re. Source then buy.

Helping out with anything and everything is Cata's daughter, Phaedra Parrish-Wain. She is 12 years old and already involved with her own activism, having fundraised to support refugees (among other causes) in the past, and is now a member of the Animal Rebellion group. She works alongside Cushla, who passes on skills and techniques - a mentorship that is a beautiful example of collaboration across a generation.

Re. Source is making waves in the community. It's a special place.


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