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Another Weigh feature

May 27th, 2024

Another Weigh Kendal and Penrith are two zero-waste shops in Cumbria, which support Another Way’s activities. The two shops have helped to grow the local community while creating a circular economy, which minimises the wastage of resources, energy and emissions.

Give us a little intro to who you are!

Jodie: We have six team members across the two stores: Hilary, Margaret, Jodie and Gemma in Kendal; and Scott and Josh in Penrith. Zoe works in and manages both of the stores. The Kendal staff all have other jobs/projects but work at Another Weigh because they love it!  

What are your most popular products?

Jodie: The biggest sellers are dried fruit and nuts, porridge oats and washing up liquid. Across the two stores, around 100 litres of washing up liquid are sold each week. That saves 100 one litre bottles from being manufactured!

Scott: I think the shop sells most things fairly evenly, with no one area really outselling another, but if I could take ‘popular’ to mean ‘brings the most joy’ I’d say it’s the lines of sweets and snacks we offer. Everybody loves the vegan fudges and gummy sweets, for example, and it’s wonderful to prove that vegan treats are as good, if not better than their counterparts that use animal products. I’m not even vegan but you try keeping me away from the chocolate orange fudge!

What’s your favourite thing that you sell?

Jodie: We like to practice what we preach, and between us have tried almost every product in the stores. Our favourites are Cole and Co Conditioner (Penrith Store), peanut butter from the peanut butter machine, rose geranium eye and face cream, Red Bank coffee beans and Raw Chocolate Company Brazil/hazel nuts.

Scott: The products that give me the most satisfaction in selling are the liquids, be they oils, toiletries or cleaning products. I can see the bathroom shelf and the kitchen counter filled with plastic bottles and replaced in a month or so with more, when they could be refilled so easily. I think I’ve personally saved passing a hundred plastic bottles across my house. The shop must have stopped many thousands of bottles being discarded. And it’s not just about landfill, recycling is a vital way to reuse material but it has a far higher energy cost than just reusing the bottles in their current form at a refill shop like ours.

Which product that you sell makes the most difference?

Jodie: Where the biggest impact can be made-swapping green plastic sponges for an alternative, whether it is a compostable sponge or a vegetable loofah, a coconut fibre dish brush or coconut scrubby.  Changing our habits by making our own snack pots at home rather than buying snacks on the go.  We stopped buying individual yoghurt pots a long time ago.  Pictured is chopped chocolate orange fudge £1.62/100g topping natural yoghurt ready for a lunchbox.

Scott: 16,000 items have been weighed at Penrith so far this year ranging from plastic free food refills and cooking oils to cleaning products. All representing an item of packaging saved!

How much of a difference has Another Weigh made to the community?

Jodie: The shops feel like a community hub, likeminded people shop there so there are often friends chatting while doing their shopping. The noticeboard is also a great way to engage with the community.

Scott: Another Weigh is more than just a shop, it’s a place where people meet and exchange. We are a convenient drop off point for items finding new homes through Freegle, mothers’ groups and gardeners’ clubs and we even help one person get a veg box as she lives outside of the supplier’s delivery radius.

What’s been the most challenging thing working at a zero waste shop?

Jodie: There are always going to be challenges in the store such as lifting heavy sacks around, but one of the biggest challenges is getting customers through the door.  We have a core of regular customers, but if everyone in Penrith and Kendal bought their washing up liquid from Another Weigh, just think how many bottles would go unmade. A misconception is that zero waste shops are more expensive, so we put regular comparisons on social media.  For example honeycomb covered in dark or milk chocolate or yoghurt (£1/100g) are much cheaper than Cadbury’s Crunchie Rocks (£1.50/100g).

Scott: I think like any shop you have your busy periods and it can be hard to help everyone. Some customers who are new to the system, which you need to think of as much more like a pick ‘n’ mix’ sweet shop than a ‘grab off the shelf’ supermarket, need a little more help than our more experienced shoppers. I don’t think that even really qualifies as ‘challenging’ as it’s really quite special to help people explore a new, more sustainable way of doing things. And everyone can see what we’re trying to achieve so happily wait until I have a spare minute to give them my attention!

Another Weigh Kendal 2

What do you love about the shop?

Jodie: We are different in that we like children in the shop and will encourage them to use the scales, put gloves on or use tongs to weigh out their snacks, we even get them sweeping up spills so their parents can shop in peace.  It is important to encourage the next generation of shoppers to be more mindful and for zero waste shopping to be normal.

Scott: It never gets old hearing people say “what a lovely shop we have”, or “isn’t it always so clean!”, or “wow, that smell is amazing!” as they walk in the door. Sadly I am now nose-blind to the heady mix of spices and fragrances wafting through the air, although I never tire of opening the cumin jar!

I think what I most appreciate about working here is that all our customers could find a more convenient way to shop but choose to come to us anyway. It’s the reduced waste yes, the environmental consciousness of course, but it’s also that we care about the quality and impact for buyer and supplier alike. You know, when you step through that door, that we source from suppliers treated with respect, who in turn treat the products with love, and by guaranteeing that customers know they too are being treated as what they are, valued friends.


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