May 13, 2019
Issue 05 2019

Saving the planet with consumerism

Bronwyn Green is providing our environmentally conscious generation with her zero-waste grocery store ‘Be Free Grocer’ in Palmerston North in an effort to conserve the planet.

After volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary in Malaysia for five years, Bronwyn and her husband wanted to start a business with day-to-day conservation benefits.

“[This is] how we landed upon the zero-waste supermarket type of idea,” she said.

Be Free Grocer also sells sustainable cleaning products held in mass refillable dispensers. Other locally made natural beauty care is also available in order to help people consume smarter.

Once a student herself, Bronwyn understands that budgets are tight. To assist the student budget and those with a community services card, she has made a small discount on the necessity items for a home.

“Our main goal is to make less wasteful shopping easily accessible and more mainstream regardless of income” she said.

Customers of the local store are overwhelmingly students, but for another group, the personal touch to the store is nostalgic.

“We can help people dispense their food; the older generation love that because it reminds them of how they used to shop. It wasn’t this faceless thing where you go to a self-scanner,” she explained.

With the help of her husband Dave and mother Heather, Be Free Grocer opened its doors on January 26th this year and already hope to help the community in other ways.

“The reality is the items we buy in bulk come in bulk-sized plastic bags,” she said.

“We have grand plans for a plastic recycling machine to bring this whole potential for social enterprise as well.”

Bronwyn will be hosting a free talk about her time volunteering in Malaysia at the Massey Manawatu library on May 15th at 7pm.