Today, we present to you Coline, founder of the zero-waste grocery store Un Grain dans le Bocal and of Coco Drinks , a distributor of recorded bulk liquid ! This young entrepreneur launched her activity 3 years ago following the initiative of the town hall of Roubaix to offer its inhabitants zero waste support . We tell you more in this article!
Can you tell me about Un grain dans le Bocal and Coco Drinks ?
“I created the Un Grain dans le Bocal grocery store a little over 3 years ago in 2017. Bulk, zero waste, food and also cosmetics. There is zero packaging, customers come with their containers, take the quantity they need, which avoids waste. Gradually, we expanded the range and as we had a lot of requests for liquid bulk , we opened our returnable beverage room in September 2020, just after the first wave of covid. We quickly had more space because the demand was so strong, especially for consigned milk. This led us to open another premises in September 2020 dedicated solely to drinks: water, milk, soft drinks, beers, wine (including the Oé range). This project is called Coco Drinks , completes the zero waste offer and is right next to the grocery store.
We have a big demand for stored water because in the region, we have a hard water problem. It has quite a strong taste. Sterilized milk is also one of our biggest sales. It can be kept for 6 months so no storage concerns for our customers. In the region, we have a lot of local breweries, which allows us to find good beers.”
What was the trigger that pushed you to set up your grocery store?
“After 7 years in communication in mass distribution, I wanted a job that made sense, I wanted to set up a project and be independent. It was while watching a report on the zero waste approach of the city of Roubaix that I had a click. To be more precise, the town hall of Roubaix supports families for a year to help them reduce their waste and potentially become zero waste. In Roubaix at the time there were no zero waste stores so I decided to embark on the adventure. A year later Un Grain dans le Jar was born .
Before this click, I was already interested in ecology. And following this report, I started hunting for packaging. It became obvious, we had to bring our grain to the building!”
Editor's note: for those who live in Roubaix or who want to know more about the subject, we put the link to this great initiative right here .
Why did you choose Oé organic wines?
“I already offered bulk wines but I wanted to expand the range with bottled wines so that they could be kept longer than bulk wine which must be consumed within 3 days once purchased by customers. I was seduced by the range of Oé wines, the history of the winegrowers behind them, the deposit and of course the organic label. They are very popular, so at the grocery store we are delighted!”
What is your long-term ambition?
“We would really like the customers of Un Grain dans le Bocal to take the fold of Coco Drinks . For this, we must further expand the range of returnable drinks. And if not, I would say to seek out companies to support them in this zero waste approach . First with drinks and then perhaps with food or offering our services to corporate concierges. With the covid, for the moment these are projects on stand-by.”
What is the thing you are most proud of?
“ We had the visit of the Prime Minister at the time Édouard Philippe a few months ago. I know that it had an impact on the city and that it helped promote zero waste. Beyond my grocery store, I am happy with the dynamic that the town hall of Roubaix has given to this approach. And I'm also proud of the relationship we have with customers, which is very caring. I believe we have succeeded in creating a real community around zero waste.”
Can you tell me more about the zero waste approach of the city of Roubaix?
“There are 100 families a year and the project started about 6 or 7 years ago. They communicate on the amount of waste they have managed to reduce . And in the end it shows the impact of all these small steps . The town hall of Roubaix has also set up a “Zero Waste Trader” label . We are listed on a map distributed to the inhabitants of the city to guide them in their approach.”
How do you help your customers to engage?
“At the beginning, we accompanied our customers on recipes and advice for everyday life. But less and less because they are more and more seasoned! I don't hesitate to refer to people I know who do workshops to push the process further.”
How do you manage bulk waste?
“We have suppliers who set up deposit systems for food and cosmetics in particular. And more and more, packaging is made of cardboard and less plastic packaging. And then some customers ask to reuse our large containers for parallel activities such as large buckets for fishing or we make them available to certain associations and companies that reuse them. We recycle as much as possible.”
If you want to write to Coline, it's here 👉🏼 firstname.lastname@example.org and for those who live in Roubaix, we suggest you go visit her directly in her grocery store 😉