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A bit of Byron Shire’s Plastic-Free History - Santos Organics

A bit of Byron Shire’s Plastic-Free History

Since the early 1970’s the Byron Shire has been home to a plastic-free shopping experience.  45 years on we still stand strong on our war against plastic waste. Santos Organics started by serving bulk wholefoods out of a Holden ute in Main Arm, Byron Shire. Sacks of rice and grains, beans & pulses and a big scoop. Straight from the sacks into our communities homes meant we were able to provide an alternative service to the soon to come supermarket experience and the introduction of plastic packaging in the mid 1970’s.

Santos - The Good Food Shop

As the demand for our product increased so did our offering which called for a retail store to be opened in 1978 in Stuart St Mullumbimby. Santos finally had its first sign ‘Santos - The Good Food Shop’, meaning that only food that was good for you would be served in our stores. Bulk food from there never died and plastic packaging never reached the hands of many in the Mullumbimby community. This service was embraced by the community. When plastic packaging gained greater popularity, the pollution and waste aware community only grew stronger, with this so did Santos Organics. From here Santos Organics grew with the opening of multiple retail stores throughout the Byron Shire, always increasing its plastic-free bulk food service. Added to this was an online shop servicing customers all over Australia.

Staying True to our Plastic-Free Roots

As we expanded the business, the focus of the organisation stayed firmly rooted in helping people make healthy food choices, the provision of community service, and environmental responsibility. We are proud to be a part of such a vibrant and thriving community where our customers, staff, members, and management are passionate about both their health, and the health of the planet.

Supporting Nude Your Food Program

In 2015 we supported the Nude Your Food campaign which was the first major plastic-free campaign in the Byron Shire. This drew considerable attention to the plastic-waste matter and resulted in a local school completely removing the land-fill bin from the playground with students becoming responsible for their own waste. A great outcome! In 2016 we joined the Plastic Free July campaign and it has now grown to a staggering size with millions around the world taking the challenge this July. As for us we’ve continued to keep our plastic-free bulk food service open to Australia. Our bulk foods come in cellophane and paper (with a metal tie) which means you can order over 150 products 100% plastic free. We are still working out how to get liquids to our Australian customers plastic-free as lids and some syrups are resistant to the plastic-free movement (so far!)

Investing in the Environment

In late 2016, we became a not-for-profit environmental organisation and now invest 100% of our profits in either improving our service to our customers or in social and environmental projects. A great way for our communities shopping to have a positive impact on the environment!

Byron Borrow Bags Program

One of our recent investments is our Byron Borrow Bag program in partnership with Clean Coast Collective. Rather than complaining about the waste that tourists bring to our community, we are providing them with reusable bags so that plastic bags don’t need to enter their hands. We love finding solutions, like this one - I guess it’s always been our role in the community. Conscious alternatives to create healthy people and a healthy earth.

Celebrating Plastic Free July

So this Plastic Free July we are celebrating by giving away $1,000 of bulk food to one lucky local shopper. Buy some bulk food, enter the draw and you could have one big smile on your face come August 20 when the lucky shoppers ticket is drawn. Thanks again community for all your support over the past 45 years, we hope to see you in store shortly.