People are choosing food delivery more than ever, and reducing delivery waste is something we could all look to as a small step to a more sustainable life. Ecological problems are arising rapidly as time goes by, and it is becoming more obvious that some things need to change and better habits need to be made, then, delivery waste might be of key importance.
Idea of zero delivery waste business
I have been trying for years to reduce my environmental impact and my use of plastic. I am very conscious of the impact of human beings on the planet. To tell the truth, I have gone through this state of “Eco-anxiety” several times. I saw all the bad things that were happening and had an impression that nothing I could do would improve the situation.
Because of that, my friends and I decided to take action two years ago. We wanted to start a project that would focus on reducing the use of plastic. Even though this did not result in a viable business, it was the seed planted in my head. After that, I started the plan to launch wezero: a store where you could do all your shopping without any plastic packaging – a zero waste delivery shop. In July 2020, I started with the market research. I made a business plan, took some surveys in Barcelona, and finally, the official launch of wezero was around April – May 2021. All in all, it took around nine months of preparation.
The Cambra de Comerç helped me a lot in this process. They accompanied me during the development of the business plan, the financial plan, the search for a logistic solution, and the creation of the company itself (S.L.). Their help was very valuable, and I thank them a lot for that.
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Obstacles for zero waste businesses
I have to admit, it wasn’t all so smooth. During development we had two major difficulties.
The first problem we had was integration between the payment terminal and the website. I chose Redsys as a payment terminal, as it is widely recognized and more affordable compared to other payment terminals like Stripe. The integration with WooCommerce was not easy at all, and it seemed to be like that because of Redsys’ complexity. Although it was difficult to implement, today I am very happy with that choice and the cost really has nothing to do with it.
Another problem we encountered was package return management in woocommerce. Today it seems like there is no suitable solution for stores that work with a circular model. It is very difficult to track the packaging of an order and return the deposit in a simple way. We have looked at payment plugins as well, but they didn’t provide a suitable solution either. Now we are working with a free woocommerce plugin, but we manage container deposit returns manually. At the moment it’s going well because wezero is still a new and small business, but we know that it won’t be sustainable forever.
In terms of logistics, I was looking for a very specific partner: a company where I could store food and non-food products and a place where I could do order picking. Ideally it would be integrated with “green” deliveries, i.e. on bicycles or electric motorcycles. At the beginning I couldn’t find anyone with these specific characteristics. Luckily, after a couple of months of talking to friends and people I knew, I managed to find a company which matched these requirements exactly.
What are the first step for municipalities to adopt #zerowaste strategies?
— Zero Waste Europe (@zerowasteeurope) December 2, 2021
Progressing the business
In the coming months we plan to focus our growth in the B2B (Business to Business) field and expand the area of our zero waste delivery. Later on, we aim to grow through Spain. Although, for that we still have to define the logistics solution, i.e., an economically viable solution that will follow our line of sustainability. We don’t want to send pasta in a Kraft bag in a truck that uses Diesel.
Advice For Sustainable Businesses
As I mentioned already, starting and developing a sustainable business is not easy, but it is definitely worth it. That is why I want to share some advice for all the entrepreneurs who are considering starting a project in the sustainability field.
At the beginning of a project, it is very important to talk to potential customers or users. This is true for any project, but even more so in the sustainability field. Someone who is convinced that they want to do their part to make the world more sustainable should not forget that their customers will have certain needs and requests. Because of that, you want to keep in mind that promoting a product or service that people don’t need or are less comfortable with will not change their consumption habits.
Therefore, when launching a project, it is essential to make sure that we solve problems that exist, not push something that nobody wants. I also believe it’s key to provide a service that is more convenient than the normal service. Taking the example of Too Good To Go – a service which reduces food waste. What makes it so successful is not that they have a super sustainable model, but that they bring a value that didn’t exist before: food at reduced prices, close to home. At wezero, we offer flexible delivery in as little as 6 hours, and taking care of the collection, cleaning, and reuse of the packaging. All our customers have to do is put the jars in their cupboards. Not even going to the supermarket is that easy!
Reactions to wezero
I am very happy and proud to say that people’s reactions to this have been very positive so far. We see a lot of interest every time we talk about wezero. However, we are aware that changing consumer habits doesn’t happen overnight. It seems to us that it will take longer to achieve a high and loyal customer base, but we are ready for that and look forward to our next steps.
"The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it."
– Robert Swan
— To The Outside Of Everything (@outside_to) December 12, 2021