For all the official chatter about the importance of ensuring that our business culture takes environmental considerations into account, the willingness of local business enterprises to withdraw – or at least reduce – is far from clear. Despite this, the long-standing, scientifically determined facts about the effects of plastic pollution on humans, animals and plants because they release toxic chemicals that eventually work their way up the food chain are beginning to register with some business enterprises.
Alana Bumbury-Walton may well still be part of that modest clique. She owns and operates Jars Zero Waste Store which offers a range of conventional products for sale but pays particular attention to its packaging protocols. Here, the environment comes first.
If there is a strong hint of nutritional friendliness to the products it sells, much of its focus is on bringing a stronger eco-friendly perspective to the local shopping culture. After you’ve picked up your usual food and other items – detergents, fabric softener, pasta and a variety of cereals that include (rice, split peas, oats, nutmeg, cinnamon, cashew and peanuts, coffee beans (which can be ground on the building) and virgin coconut oil from Jars Zero Waste Shop, eco-friendly cotton canvas bags and cotton mesh bags can be bought there to take home. Alana hopes her uncontrolled environmental advocacy will help to expand the local eco-Guyanese friendly community.
Much of what Jars Zero Friendly offers for sale is imported, with the notable exceptions being peanuts and cashews, sourced from Lethem, coconut oil and the Tidying range of detergents which are also bought locally.
Alana, a Public Management graduate at the University of Guyana, says her attitudes to various large companies in Guyana in an effort to develop business relationships that would enable more efficient product distribution have not been encouraging so far. Nevertheless, she remains optimistic about growth. Arising from several methods he has acquired from small craftsmen, he has decided to set up a Craft Corner inside the shop. Further, because of what she says has been her success in marketing the Tidy Up Refill Laundry detergent products she prepares to significantly increase her distribution of the products. Alana’s strong environmental instincts are reflected in her entrepreneurial outlook. Packaged for its spices, oats, grains, pasta and coconut oils are mostly reusable glass jars that range in price from $ 180 to $ 400 each. Free paper bags are the option here, otherwise customers are encouraged to bring the containers of their choice.
Long into its second month of offering services to its customers (Jars Zero opened on October 1 this year and according to Alana business has been encouraging, much of it coming originally from friends and relatives although growth continues further expansion.
Alana is not new to business. In May 2019 she set up her first business venture in Plaisance… a Tidy Up Refill Distribution facility on the Plaisance Line Top right opposite the Guinness Bar. She had been pushed in that direction by work colleagues who have continually shown enthusiasm for the products.
However, her father had been conditioned to business and although they often lock horns on approaches to entrepreneurship, he nonetheless says he has been a big supporter of their activities. Her father, as a skilled electrical technician, did some of her electrical work.
Operating two businesses at the same time presented significant challenges. She says most of her savings have been poured into the Garnett Street initiative and while good days and less than good ones remain, she is ready to ‘wait out’ the process.