Business week: Green is the new black

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Call it the Greta effect, or the Blue Planet gear changer — the pressure is on for retail businesses to offer customers ethical assurance. Going eco is not just a responsible course of action, it’s a financially acute decision too.

At Lincoln coffee and tea company Stokes, sustainable initiatives are getting the green-light by the bucket load.

The 117-year-old business is inviting other companies to take up a new packaging alternative scheme. Customers will be able to take coffee home in reusable and fully recyclable buckets.

Coffee can now be supplied in 2kg buckets for a minimum order of 6kg. Larger orders in excess of 28kg can be supplied in larger 4kg buckets.

Nick Peel, managing director of Stokes said: “Although the cost to the customer is reduced via this method, it has been introduced to allow our customers to be more conscious of plastic waste and give them the opportunity to reduce their plastic waste and packaging.

“We have been mindful also to ensure that the buckets themselves are also recyclable along with the seal around the bucket which is made from Kraft paper and solvent free.”

While supermarket giants are beginning to make pledges to reduce packaging, it appears the smaller community players are leading the way.

Local greengrocers Fresh From the Fields, who run three shops in Lincoln, have been working with suppliers to scrap or significantly reduce plastic packaging.

Ermine shop manager Nathan Willows recently announced a cash back incentive to help shoppers become more plastic friendly.

Their ambitious vision is to be the greenest greengrocer in Lincoln: “If you return to our Ermine store with a cardboard punnet (originally purchased from us) we will knock 5p per punnet off… We will also offer you a discount of 10p if you use your own carrier bags.”

Tucked into a row of shops opposite Lincoln Central railway station is an independent business which has tapped into the sustainable cosmetics market.

From sun cream in a tin to organic skincare in paper packaging, bamboo toothbrushes, soap refills, eco sanitary products and solid shampoos, Green’s Health Food Shop on St Mary’s Street offers one of, if not the biggest, range of green products in the city.

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