La Casa Nostra Deli is a family owned business winning the battle against the war on waste. Business owners Phil and Susan Tomasello are actively reducing single use packaging and encouraging their customers to refill, reuse and recycle within the La Casa Nostra community; overall rethinking waste and winning in more ways than one.

This multi-faceted deli and coffee shop has become known as a ‘zero waste’ one stop shop in Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula. The secret to their success comes from their passion to supply gourmet foods such as cheese, small-goods to their clients and an absolute passion for closing the loop.

“We lead by example – adopting a sustainable and minimal waste approach to our business, including our shop fittings and displays, most of which were made from timber salvaged” says Susan

Encouraging Community Engagement

Susan and Phil took the brave step of not providing plastic carry bags to clients, by bucking this trend they opened a new dialogue with their customers and encouraged greater community engagement. Not forgetting their customers’ needs Susan and Phil still needed to offer some way to carry goods home.

Demonstrating their true passion for the environment Susan and Phil introduced their clients to Boomerang Bags, by handing these cloth bags the conversation soon turned to the topic of reducing plastic pollution in the community.

La Casa Nostra top 7 tips to reduce waste in your business 

  1. Sign up to Responsible cafés – and offer a discount for bringing your own cup
  2. Sell reusable cups and containers and encourage people to bring them back to refill in your store. Susan and Phil also ask people to refill their coffee bags with coffee beans
  3. BYO containers –encourage customers to bring their own containers- glass jars, tupperware and fabric bags. Susan and Phil provide cardboard boxes, buckets and trays from their stock are provided for free to use – these also go to local school art departments, child care centres for reuse or listed as giveaway on La Casa Nostra Facebook page.
  4. Separate all waste – cardboard, soft plastic and hard plastic – any plastic or cardboard that can’t be reused or repurposed is recycled accordingly. As soft plastic can’t usually be recycled in kerbside recycling, they can be recycled a local supermarket with offering REDcycle.
  5. Provide alternatives to single use plastic –self-sealing lids, paper straws, coffee cups, stainless steel self-sealing containers
  6. Taking on a sustainability mind-set – The benefits outweigh the effort, with many new products with a sustainable, each aiming to reduce waste in their own way. Susan and Phil adopted this mind-set in the deli and café, it helps minimise any waste– and often see it rubbing off on our customers!
  7. Keep It Simple-When it comes building awareness within your community, the trick is to keep it simple. For some people the concept of refilling and bringing your own bag is a blast from the past, for some it is very foreign. Encourage your customers to bring a clean, airtight, sealable container for any deli goods, glass or plastic both work well. The empty containers are weighted before it is filled, then re-weighted with the weight of the container deducted, so you are not paying the extra weight. To encourage the use of clothe bags simply signup to your local Boomerang Bag for  cloth bags

The Waste Benefits

As business owners are we wasting opportunities to grow our business through waste?

I believe there are jobs and innovation in waste, we do not need to be working on a large scale to benefit from these savings.

Cost Savings

Since starting their war on waste Susan and Phil have seen a 50% reduction in disposal coffee cups and 100% reduction in single use plastic bags.

“By following our passion, we’re not only reducing waste, we have a point of difference to every other store on the strip, our clients spend more time in store, chatting over a coffee, sharing our ideas and picking up those few extras, what Susan and I are most proud is the increased community awareness in our community on the war on waste. ” say Phil

Special thanks to guest bloggers Susan and Phil Tomasello, to find out more

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