Consumption & Production

Effecorta – Sustainable, Zero Waste shopping is possible!


28 Feb 2011

Written by

Joan Marc Simon


Do you think that eating sustainable food has become a fulltime expensive job? This might be true in many places in Europe but there are more and more shops that show the way towards sustainability. Effecorta, in the ZeroWaste-pioneer town of Capannori in Italy, is a very good example of how sustainable, zero waste shopping is not only necessary but is also possible!

In the shop Effecorta 80% of the products come from 70km around the Capannori municipality (aiming to get to 95%) and many of them are organic.

But this is just the top of the iceberg; the shop adheres to the principle of Zero Waste and it doesn’t use any plastic bag or any non-reusable package. This is not only true for the tomatoes but also for soap, milk products, cosmetic creams, beer, wines, beans, rice, spices, salt, sugar… you name it! Everything they sell is in refillable, re-usable or/and biodegradable packaging.

This system:

– allows every buyer to buy according to its needs which minimises the waste eventually produced by normal packaged stuff and responsible for lots of food to be wasted (8.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away by households in the UK every year),

– saves us from having to check the source and composition of the products because you know they are all local and in most of the cases organic (time saving),

– reduces the carbon food-print of the products because they don’t have to be transported long distances (less CO2 emissions),

– contributes to minimise the waste generation at home (no waste packaging and a lot less food wasted= less cost for the citizen and the municipality),

– because you buy the amount you need and not what is in predefined packaging in the end you end up spending (and buying) less than in a normal supermarket, even if you buy bio! An italian study shows how buying bulk can reduce the food bill in 64€ per month/family that is 775eur per year,

– well, leaving aside everything above: food tastes better and is more nutritive which at the end is what we all want!

This initiative was started by 6 idealists from Tuscany in August 2009 and it has already achieved economic stability and from all the products, the sales of the organic products are increasing by a 20%.

A lot of people questioned in the beginning the quality of natural biological refillable soaps and others. For this reason in the beginning the entrepreneurs gave to normal people (not the already convinced greeny) different soaps to try and in the end the customers decided to stay with the locally produced biological soap with the refillable packaging for pure practical and quality reasons.

It is important to mention that the customers of this shop are all kinds of normal people from Capannori and surroundings, a good example of how Zero Waste fits and improves everyday life. This has been recognised with the award of Tuscany Eco-efficiency.

Effecorta proves how zero waste and sustainability can get into people’s lifes whilst feeding them better, creating local jobs, reducing carbon food-print of products and phasing-out waste!