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Wholefoods & Wholesome Folk: The Good Weigh

Kate Cox in her zero-waste shop, The Good Weigh

Published: 5/06/2023

Updated: December 22nd, 2023 at 03:05 pm

As we celebrate World Environment Day, we ask Kate Cox from The Good Weigh in Nottingham about her zero-waste shop.

Please tell us a little about your business.

The Good Weigh is a plastic-free, refill store. Customers come along armed with their own containers to fill up on dried goods and household liquids. We are based in Lady Bay, a suburb near Nottingham. I live here, my kids go to school here, and it’s a three-minute walk to my shop every morning. 

What inspired/ prompted you to open the shop?

My sister lives in Falmouth. During a trip to Cornwall in 2018 she suggested we pop into a store called Un-Rap. She said she had to take me there as I’d love it – and I really did! It was the first zero waste shop I’d visited, and I was so blown away by the concept and its simplicity. I decided there and then that I wanted to open my own shop back in my local community. 

Hannah, the owner of Un-Rap was really happy to talk me through her experiences and gave me plenty of advice. The community of zero waste shop owners is great to be a part of. We all want to achieve something as a collective that will improve society and commit to helping our planet. I’ve since helped lots of other shops to open – we’re a helpful bunch!

What makes it special?

The customers! They helped raise over £10,000 to crowdfund the store. Our local community supported me since day one, and I will always be grateful to them. It was also a great tool for market research. If the community were willing to pledge to open The Good Weigh, then there was clearly an appetite for a store like mine to open. 

I’ve made some really great friends along the way. I think Covid really helped with that. Customers loved coming in during the darkest of those days when we really didn’t know what the heck was going on. They would come to me and use my store as a therapy space while filling up with porridge and pasta! We also bring great things to the store, like fresh bread, pastries and local foodie trucks to the area. Basically, delicious products that aren’t readily available locally.

What’s your local area like?

Lady Bay is a great community. We’re only a few miles from Nottingham city centre and have Nottingham Forest Football ground pretty much on our doorstep, as well as Trent Bridge Cricket ground. There’s a thriving art scene with quite a bohemian feel, like an urban village really. The people of Lady Bay are consciously minded, which certainly helps us.

How has the shop and your local area changed since you opened?

Our local community now has plastic-free status. Through the Surfers Against Sewage campaign, and by just being here over the last 4 years, we have saved so many single-use plastic bottles finding their way to landfill, or to recycling. I do an annual assessment of how we’re doing which you can find on our Instagram. The results are pretty staggering and it really helps to keep us all motivated. Even the residents who don’t use the store tell us they like having it in their neighbourhood. We are often featured in Estate Agents property details as a lure to the area, which is pretty cool.

How would your customers describe you and your shop?

They love the store, and they love us. We’ve won 3 awards over the last 4 years, and have been nominated for another. It makes me and my team really proud.

What kind of products can we buy in your shop?

Dried food, fruit and veg, household and body care liquids, as well as freshly-ground peanut butter, and locally-roasted coffee. We have fresh bread daily and pastries too – both from a local bakery. We thought about going fully organic when we opened, but we have a hybrid between the two now so it doesn’t alienate people with regards to cost. Organic is obviously better, but with things as they are at the moment with the cost of living crisis, our customers are looking for value too.

Refills at The Good weigh

How are you and your other local independent retailers fairing on your local high street?

Lady Bay is a community that really likes to support local, so we’re doing well at the moment.

What are you most proud of about your business, and why?

Just its continued success really. It’s all down to hard work, but mainly the customers and their commitment to shopping plastic-free. And the awards too – I feel very grateful for it all.

What drives you?

My kids. This was all for them really – to show them that there is a way, if we try and make changes, to do something meaningful. I just want to make them proud and lead by example.

Who do you admire in wholefoods retail/ zero waste, and why?

You guys. You offer amazing service and your products are great. All the other zero waste shops too. I know it’s really hard work, but it’s also so rewarding if you work hard and adapt. We supply a brand called Upcircle – I love everything they supply us with, and their ethos is fantastic.

What products would you pack to take to a desert island?

Oh gosh, that’s hard. I do really love your ALTER/NATIVE coconut and argan oil shampoo. But do I really need that when I’m swimming in the sea every day? It’s probably got to be my bamboo toothbrush!

What’s next for Kate Cox and The Good Weigh?

Continue to supply Lady Bay with the best plastic-free produce. We’ve doubled the amount of lines we offer and that will continue – if I can find a spare gravity feeder!

Read more about zero waste and sustainability in our sustainability strategy