Zero waste store to feature at top craft and design fair

by Gazette Reporter
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A Dublin couple whose crusade against plastic led to the opening of a zero waste grocery store, will be under the national spotlight at Ireland’s top craft and design fair.

A move back to her native Canada convinced enterprising Jess Dollinger that the same type of outlet could work in Ireland.

And her efforts to replicate the Toronto shop paid off in 2019, when she opened The Good Neighbour in Dundrum village.

Her work will be featured when she exhibits for the first time at contemporary craft and design fair, Gifted, at Dublin’s RDS from December 1-5.

“It was an entirely positive reaction to The Good Neighbour; people wanted an opportunity to cut down on plastic,” said Jess, 33.

 “The other side of it was that a lot of people live on their own and produce a lot of food waste, so people only buy what they need.

“Customers bring their own containers, we have everything you get in a regular grocery shop and we have close to 500 package-free products, including grains, herbs and spices, dried fruit, cereals, baking products, handmade soaps and eco-friendly cleaning products.


“Everything is sold by weight. It’s a case of simply weighing your containers before filling them, then fill, and reweigh.

“There is no plastic whatsoever. People can bring in their containers so long as they are clean and dry.”

The Montreal-native, who also worked in the fitness industry, market research and even managed a used-book store,

travelled to Ireland in 2013 to do her masters in UCD but also met her now husband Fin Furey, a director of the business.

The couple moved to Canada and it was in the Toronto store where she had her ‘lightbulb moment’.

“We always wanted to come back to Ireland and one day I saw a shop back home and thought ‘this is the way forward, this is the solution’.

“We thought it was a great time to open a zero waste store here. I was so fed up with the plastic waste I was producing. Until you see how it can be done, it’s hard to see the alternatives.”

Jess says there is a misconception that bulk-buy shops are expensive but the goal is always to be as reasonable as possible.

“We’re very excited for Gifted, it is a good way to reach new customers and we’re excited to offer people more sustainable Christmas gifts, it’s such a wasteful time of year.”

Gifted organiser, Patrick O’Sullivan, described the RDS Fair as “a huge boost” to the independent creative sector.

“It is vital to the industry as a whole and it is estimated that it generates enough business to keep most of the exhibitors busy for at least four months of the year,” he said.

“Our exhibitors are overjoyed at news of the return of Gifted because they have missed the human interaction of the selling process.”

Gifted, The Contemporary Craft and Design Fair, takes place at the RDS Main Hall in Dublin’s Ballsbridge from December 1-5. Full details and booking at Special 10% discount on all purchases on December 1.

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