Scoop and Scales
Scoop and Scales is a cooperative with an aim to open a fill your own container / plastic free shop in Macclesfield in 2020. We hope that this space will be a hub for environmental activity in the town.
There is a small group of elected officers (all volunteers) who work with co-opted officers and other volunteers to run the admin, buying, research and marketing side.
Our aim is to re-invest our profits in the local area to support positive local change.
We have been running a buyers’ club in Macclesfield since October 2019 and have over 130 members. We chose to operate this model to test the feasibility of zero waste retail in Macc. Each month we send a list of around 50 products to our members, with the process as follows:
As a group we are aiming to reduce waste and create a place that local people can buy ethically sourced products that reduce our impact on the wonderful world we live in. Scoop and Scales buyers’ club is the start of a journey that has already begun to have an impact. By buying in bulk and members re-using containers we are hugely reducing the plastic waste we create.
We are also stocking a growing number of organic and ethically sourced products as well as some locally produced items. You can find out more about our suppliers here. .
We want to go further, the ultimate aim for Scoop and Scales is to have a shop or market stall that can stock a much wider range of product, be open on a regular basis and can become a hub for the environmental and ethical change in Macclesfield. We also want to resource this through reinvesting our profits.
How can I join?
If you are interested in joining please email us. There is a one off £30 membership fee. This is an investment in Scoop and Scales and is used to help to fund our development, providing capital to buy stock and equipment. We do offer a reduced rate for anyone who feels unable to meet the full fee, and this is £1.50 per order.
Scoop and Scales was established as a cooperative with all members having an equal vote. The idea was to give all members a stake and say in the operation and development of our cooperative. We aim to be open and inclusive, recognising the different abilities of our members as a strength that we can use to give us a broad perspective and improve how we operate.
We also produce a monthly newsletter and aim to have regular members meetings, although current circumstances meant we had to cancel our March meeting. We also interact with members and the wider public through social media.
Our Journey so far
It all began one evening in July 2019, when a small group of people met upstairs in the Park Tavern to think about how plastic-free shopping in Macclesfield could happen. There were many brilliant ideas and visions of what we could aim to set up, it was uplifting, positive and bewildering.
Another 4 meetings took place over a few months to explore the ideas and develop them into potential ways forward. These meetings gradually whittled down the ideas to 2 possibilities, starting with a market stall or as a buyers club. We chose the latter, formulating an approach that involved the idea of starting small and making mistakes while small, learning from these mistakes and hopefully improving. Always aiming to open a stall or shop if there was sufficient demand.
Scoop and Scales was born in a meeting at the Hope Centre in October 2019 when a draft constitution was adopted and the name chosen. Officers were elected and we decided to trial 2 buying cycles before Christmas. It is safe to say that we had a great deal of enthusiasm but no experience, mistakes were made and learnt from (eg check whether prices quoted include VAT). There were 16 members for the first buying cycle, the collection event was in the café at the Hope Centre, it was frightening, exhausting, frantic at times, fun and overall was judged a success.
Since then, membership has increased to about 80, collection events have moved upstairs at the Hope Centre and then to St Peters Church.
We need to say a massive thank you to the Hope Centre for providing a venue for meetings and collection events, for lots of cups of tea and most importantly moral support. Our members have been and continue to be supportive and offer lots of help, guidance and feedback.
As the number of members and therefore orders increased it became obvious that there was not enough room for our collection events at the Hope Centre and we were very fortunate that St Peters (the church, not the apostle) offered us a more spacious venue.
Then the coronavirus intervened. We have moved again, this time thanks to Macclesfield Parish Church Scouts and Guides, and have offered a delivery service in April and May.