Monday, December 09, 2013

What happens to the surplus stock?

Anne and I were wandering around our local shopping centre on Saturday looking for a few Christmas gifts. What struck me, as I stood in the dedicated Christmas section of a large, well-know, high street retailer, was what happens to all the stuff that doesn't get sold? Once the sales come to and end, there's bound to still be stock left-over, where does it all go? My guess was landfill.

So there I was. Surrounded by all the retailing razzmatazz of tinsel and glitter and I'm suddenly struck by the wastefulness of it all. A bah-humbug moment if ever I saw one coming. But then, this morning on the breakfast news a ray of hope. A new supermarket selling remaindered stack to low income families. What a great idea.

The article is here if you missed the news item live, but how long it will be at this link I don't know, so a few details might help. It's called a "social supermarket" and is the first of its kind in the UK. I think it compliments Foodbanks and looks like a great way to keep unsold stock out of landfill. The supermarket is run by an organisation called the Company Shop, a business that has been dealing with surplus stock for over 20 years according to their corporate website. They run staff shops across the country, but the social supermarket is the first foray into something new.

It makes a whole lot of sense in so many ways. Enabling families facing economic challenges to have access to affordable products; protecting the environment by keeping unnecessary waste out of landfill; offering a longer-term solution to food poverty than food banks can, to name three that come to mind. Let's hope it proves a great success.

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