Elsie's Café launches new St James shop to save further edible food from landfill

Volunteers at new Shop Zero in St James are preparing the shop in time for their launch on Monday.
Volunteers at new Shop Zero in St James are preparing the shop in time for their launch on Monday.

It's a case of volunteer your time or pay-as-you-feel at a new Northampton shop, which works on the same premise as a popular 'binner' café.

Elsie’s Cafe, of Market Street Community Rooms, serves up hot meals from ingredients intercepted from shops before it is thrown into the bin. The café runs on a pay-as-you-feel premise where diners are asked to either make a donation or offer to volunteer instead.

Due to the increasing popularity of The Mounts venue, the café owners decided to open a second outlet to store - and dish out - their inercepted goods

They have now taken over a shop in St James next to the Library called Shop Zero, which will open its doors on Monday.

READ MORE: Northampton cafe rescues three tonnes of food every week for people on the breadline

General manager Shena Cooper said: "The benefit of this is we have more of a shop where people will be able to come on the same basis as they can for the cafés. They can come, choose their food and donate.

"You can pay either with money or with your time - so you can pay in whichever way you feel is appropriate for yourself."

The shop will offer customers tinned goods, packets, vegetables and bread, which have been collected by volunteers from major town centre supermarkets, including Tesco and Morrisons.

"Nothing has gone off, " she added. "It's over ordered basically. We don't sell food that's gone off.

"If you buy a loaf today in the supermarket you don't think its gone off tomorrow - but they would throw it out tonight if it's not bought.

"It's about the environment - this food in landfill would give off huge amounts of CO2. In fact, food in landfill is the biggest producer of CO2 in the world."

Shop Zero could rescue a further three tonnes of food a week, which has past its sell-by date.

It will operate as a community interest company and open its doors to everybody, including those who might be struggling to make ends meet.

"We are working towards Northamptonshire being the first zero-waste food county by 2025 so we want all the manufacturers, producers, and shops who see good food that would be wasted to contact us and we will rescue it for you if you can't get it here."

In the UK every day consumers chuck out 1.4 million bananas and it is estimated that the world produces twice as much food as the population needs.

The new shop officially opens on Monday (March 4) and is open every weekday from 11.30am until 1.30pm.