In support of Plastic Free July, we’re catching up with a few Kiwi businesses that are determined to improve sustainability in New Zealand.

GoodFor allows customers to fill their pantries without the wasteful and environmentally-damaging packaging that usually goes hand-in-hand with grocery shopping. We talk to James Denton, Managing Director, for some insights into the environmentally-friendly business.

A plastic-free shopping experience

The realisation that the world faces a “catastrophic plastic waste” issue is what drove James Denton to open GoodFor; a plastic-free wholefoods refillery.

At Goodfor, customers bring their own reusable storage containers and fill them up with the bulk foods on offer. These range from baking needs to nuts, herbs and spices and cleaning staples. The store also offers a range of reusable storage options, such as stackable stainless steel lunch boxes, glass jars and organic cotton bags.

You might think that someone who has created a business with a core focus on sustainable shopping would have grown up living and breathing sustainability, but James says he only started using reusable bags three years ago.

Admittedly fairly new to the movement, he is making up for lost time. He opened up his “ultimate packaging-free store” in Grey Lynn after struggling to find anywhere to shop package-free.

It turns out, he’s not the only one who was looking for a more environmentally-friendly shopping solution. Goodfor can now be found in two Auckland locations, as well as online. Two more Auckland stores are coming in the next couple of months, and a store in Wellington is also in the works.

“Our customers are incredibly self-aware, intelligent people who are grounded and understand the importance of preservation. They care about the future and those who will be involved in that future, regardless of whether they are part of it or not,” says James.

Sustainability for a more promising future

Goodfor’s motto is that sustainability starts with a packaging-free pantry, which can take some serious time to build.

“You begin to understand the cycle of shopping waste-free. It flows through to making you reconsider a lot of other wasteful habits in your life,” says James. “The most important thing to me, though, is attitude. You have to take on an attitude of caring, because if you don’t care, you are part of the problem.”

This attitude of caring inspired Goodfor to team up with Trees for the Future, funding a tree planting every time a customer shops with them. James knows that what we do now will make a huge difference in the future.

“In five years’ time, I would love to see a huge chunk of the population shopping organic and waste-free and through this forcing companies to create sustainable packaging, whether that is glass or 100% commercially compostable. It will be essential for the government to play a significant role in developing recycling and commercial composting infrastructure as well as placing full bans on substances such as polystyrene.”

In 20 years, he would like to see New Zealand as a leader in sustainable living.

“I would expect the majority of houses and commercial buildings to be carbon neutral, energy efficient homes that also power our transport. Plastic waste will be a thing of the past, our economy will be thriving off of innovative sustainable industries.

“We will have higher density living, building up, rather than out. So the beginnings of native forest reinstatement will be in full swing. This would be a great country to live in.”

If you want to learn more about how you can reduce single-use plastic, check out the Plastic Free July resources.

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