The People’s Pantry Environmental Efforts and Recognition

The People's Pantry was created to build awareness and tackle the problem of plastic waste.

The People’s Pantry was created to build awareness and tackle the problem of plastic waste. Image: The People’s Pantry

The People’s Pantry Environmental Efforts and Recognition

The People’s Pantry is a mobile refill shop and delivery service based in North London. The People’s Pantry was created to build awareness and tackle the problem of plastic waste. The founders, Lisa Jones and Stephen Thomas wanted to make plastic-free shopping as easy, accessible and fun for people living in North London.

They repurposed an old milk float (you may remember the famous Ernie from when the couple wrote for us a few months back). The milk float’s flatbed was converted into a refill shop, with its two sides now flipping open to reveal banks of gravity and scoop dispensers. The People’s Pantry offers products for the pantry, bathroom and eco-cleaning, craft beers, honey, coffee beans, cut flowers and oat milk. There are over 250 items available to customers who want to reduce their waste.

Ernie gets around. He appears in many public locations where parks, independent businesses, and organizations host the People’s Pantry. The People’s Pantry also provides doorstep deliveries across eight North London postcodes. Customers can purchase online, and the products will be packaged and delivered in repurposed, returnable containers. Ernie functions as the old milk-man system did as a closed-loop container system, with empty containers left out each delivery day for collection, sanitization and reuse.

The People’s Pantry recently won the best Bricks and Clicks Award business at this year’s Small Awards. The Small Awards is a nationwide search for the smallest and greatest firms in the UK. They target small businesses that might get overlooked by other awards due to geography, scale or even awareness of the benefits such awards can bring. The Awards are run by Small Business Britain, which runs a number of national campaigns for small businesses.

The Small Awards provides awards in 12 different categories ranging from the best family business to the best digital-only business to the business with Net Zero goals. The Bricks and Clicks Award won by the People’s Pantry is the best multi-channel small business award. The award celebrates small businesses that use multiple channels with innovation and skill to develop their business. These channels can include physical space, social media, trading platforms, etc.

We can all agree that Ernie the milk float deserves the Bricks and Clicks Award and is a unique channel that helps people purchase plastic-free products. The Haringey Council has also awarded the People’s Pantry the £500 Community Carbon Fund grant.

With the money they’ve won, the People’s Pantry will put it towards repairing a sewing machine and making drawstring bags (with fabrics donated by their customers) for their packaging-free ingredients, including pasta, flowers and sugars. This will replace the energy and water needed to sanitize the reusable glassware.

The People’s Pantry is an innovative and fun idea to encourage people to reduce plastic waste. It’s an excellent way to get the community involved with reducing waste and help make these options accessible to people who can’t or who may not even know where to get refillable products. The People’s Pantry is well deserving of its awards and its efforts in North London, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.

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