Bucketed for plastics

A BEACONSFIELD grocer has been left scratching his head after his customers demanded he cut down on plastics, but then left the products sitting on the shelf when he did.

Justin Geracitano is the grocer in the Grocer and the Chef at the Beaconsfield Plaza, and says Freo’s environmentally-conscious community have been putting the pressure on him about single-use plastics since the supermarket opened about a year ago.

Mr Geracitano said one woman even vowed not to come near his shop if he continued to wrap any of his fruit and vegies with plastic.

He’d been using cling wrap to differentiate similar products, as some growers don’t use bar code stickers, so simply unwrapping them wasn’t an option; instead he came up with the idea of putting them into little buckets. Customers transfer them into their own bags or boxes at the counter so they can be reused again.

When he announced the new initiative on Facebook, there was a hugely positive response with followers heaping praise on the store.

But there was a problem: 

“They are not selling,” Mr Geracitano laments.

“It’s the same product at the same price.

Mr Geracitano says he usually sells about 10 bags of his smaller, cheaper apples but since they’ve gone into the buckets he’s doing less than half.

“If I was selling marbles it would be different, but I am selling perishables and I can’t have them sitting there too long.”

He said some customers might have viewed the buckets as a bit cumbersome or likely to fall, but he believes it’s a case of being wary of the new.

“It’s about educating people,” he says.

So far the impact on the business hasn’t been too dire as they’ve only trialled a handful of products, and he’s keen to eventually extend the idea with bigger buckets so he can increase the range.

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