Nowadays, more and more people are thinking about the environmental issues and ecological condition of Earth. But why has this problem become so relevant? May be because people have understood that their irresponsibility causes harm to the natural environment.
Our planet suffers from numerous problems, which have been caused by the results of excessive anthropogenic activity. The entire planet suffers from pollution, global warming, deforestation, extinction of biological species, etc.
These problems are extremely relevant and require rapid and intensive solutions. It is possible to defeat these problems if the entire humanity changes its approach towards nature, natural resources, and the value of nature for its wellbeing.
In simple words, people should go green to save Earth. One such step is a green grocery store or a green store.
What is Green Store?
It is an eco-friendly grocery store that is a plastic-free zone, where customers have to bring their own containers to buy essential commodities.
India’s first Green Grocery Store was launched in God’s own Country Kerala. The store was a huge success that 500 to 600 people from around the country contacted store owner Bittu John to enquire about setting up similar stores in many parts of the country.
It was during one of his leisure trips to Europe in 2015 when Bittu John Kalungal caught the concept of a bring-your-own container for grocery shopping. An MTech in Aeronautical Engineering Kalungal decided to launch a greengrocery store – 7 to 9 Grocery store – in 2018.
He converted his father’s 40-years-old, 600-square feet grocery store into a Green store. As there was no such store in India, the concept was new and thus, he learned more about setting up such a store via the internet.
It took one and a half years for him to convert his father’s store into a green store. The bins used in the store had to be imported from the U.S, China, and Germany.
The store encourages customers to bring their containers for a refill. Alternatively, they can buy glass containers at the cost of Rs 20-25. They can give back the containers later, and get a refund or can use the container for further refills.
The same concept is followed for online deliveries too. Customers save two percent each time they shop at the store if they bring in their containers.
Apart from this on World Environment Day, June 5, they also offer a discount of 10 percent on all their products.
A couple of visits acquaints the customer with the system and they are ready to handle the self-service – from taking the tare weight to refilling and scanning the barcode to printing the bill. This system helps the store to accommodate up to 15 customers at a time.
The store houses biodegradable and chemical-free products. Many of the products like rice powder are powdered at his brother’s mill. Thye source good quality ingredients and these are shared with the local network to make healthy snacks, thus building the local economy.
It was initially difficult to turn brand-conscious customers to choose homemade high-quality products. He also deals with organic products, but considering the cost usually goes up by 30 percent, he encourages high-quality homemade products. Biodegradable cleaning solutions are mostly imported. They also source from export quality solutions.
When John was thinking about franchising his store the Covid-19 hit the state.
Even though he had to postpone the plans for starting the franchise indefinitely, Covid did not adversely affect business in his store. The number of walk-in customers reduced considerably during the peak period but home delivery saw a huge boom.
Customers drive from Kochi to shop at his grocery store to save plastic. The lack of facilities in the city of Kochi, and the ban on burning or dumping plastics are encouraging people to opt for plastic-free shopping.
Right now, the Green Store provides delivery across Ernakulam. But customers from nearby districts also come to the stores to buy groceries with their own containers.