The SRV-car comes back to Rotterdam and Tessa and Anne are going to drive it
Tessa Overboom and Anne Sonnleitner had one good intention for 2020: to produce less waste. This ambition grew into the dream of their own waste-free grocery store. Less than a year later, they bought a second-hand van which they converted into an SRV car. "Her name is Evie and we are already attached to her!"
Potjes en Deksels will drive around the Rotterdam districts and sell products in bulk. You bring your own jars, trays or bags and decide how much of which product you want to buy.
Store on wheels
Driving around in an SRV car is a bit old-fashioned, also selling products from large pots takes you back in time. With the arrival of self-service supermarkets, the traditional grocery store has almost disappeared. Anne: "It's a bit different with us than with a real SRV van, because you don't get on the bus, but at the counter. We've just learned that this is called a bag shelf!"
With Evie, Tessa and Anne will initially drive around for three days. "We both have a job next to it now, so we're just going to build it up. We will drive around on Tuesdays and Fridays and on Saturdays we will be at the Rotterdamse Oogstmarkt on Noordplein," says Tessa. "We're still going to set out the routes, but it will probably be one day North and East and the other day South and West. People can now register as interested through our website.”
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Because Potjes en Deksels don't drive around full time, they can't sell fresh products yet. "That would mean that we would have to throw away a lot of products and that's against our principles," Anne explains. "So we start with dry products like pasta, rice, beans, coffee, nuts, muesli and so on. We also have sustainable care products and cleaning products. Think of the tooth tabs from Happy Tabs or the shampoo bars from The Happy Soaps'.
Anne: "For the business plan, we looked even more closely at the waste and plastic issues. Plastic has such a big impact on the environment. It ends up in the rivers, seas and oceans and that's where it becomes microplastics. It's not just animals that suffer from this, it also comes back to humans". Tessa adds: "I'll give you one fact about the production of plastic: 2.3 million tons of plastic were produced in 1950, this was 448 million tons by 2015. Of course, we're seeing more and more alternative forms of plastic. That's good, but it's not the solution for everything: many products can also be sold without packaging."
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Red but green bus
Evie is an Iveco Daily bus that Tessa and Anne picked up in Germany a few weeks ago. She runs on green gas, a sustainable variant of CNG. That the bus had to be sustainable was a requirement for the girls. Anne: "It's a red, but actually green, bus! It's difficult to promote waste free, while driving around in a diesel. Tessa adds: "With green gas you emit up to 80 percent less CO2."
At the moment Tessa and Anne are busy converting the bus. "We keep learning, because we are stripping Evie ourselves now. I never thought I would ever do that," laughs Anne. When the SRV car has had a check-up, the interior is finished and the exterior is stickered, the girls will start.
"Our dream is that in the short term we will both be able to work full time for Potjes & Deksels. Then we will also be able to offer local, mainly vegan, fresh produce. Eventually we hope to grow to other cities in the Netherlands," Anne says enthusiastically. Tessa adds: "But it's just as important to us that we reach people and can make them more aware of our concept. We want to make a zero waste life accessible to a wide audience!"