While she was finishing her studies Business Management in Madrid, he was working in the hospitality sector in Paris and Hawaii. Shortly after, they met during their travels to Australia, where they fell in love with nature, the ocean and each other. Since then, Sandra (29, from Mallorca) and John (29, from Nice, France) have brought two adorable babies to this world and recently settled in Mallorca where they have opened their own single use plastic free shop NU Market, in Santa Catalina, to encourage and facilitate sustainable living. But their dreams expand much further.
Today they share their story with us, and give their best tips on how to move towards a low impact lifestyle through simple changes in our everyday habits.
“Our project was born out of love for the ocean” they say when looking back at how it all began. “We are both born and have grown up by the Mediterranean. The sea has always surrounded our lives.”
Both Sandra and John are scuba divers. For some time, Sandra was working as a Scuba Instructor in Australia which allowed them to spend many hours underwater. While enjoying the beauty of the big blue, unfortunately the couple also got to witness its deterioration.
“The idea of opening a bulk shop arose after seeing with our own eyes how the pollution on the beaches was increasing and the oceans suffering due to our consumption model.
Every time we took a walk on the beach, or dove in the sea, we could see how contaminates it was with plastics, from very small pieces to very large ones.”
The couple began to bring bags with them to collect the rubbish and prevent it from returning to the sea where it may kill marine animals. After studying the topic in depth they learned about the magnitude of it, and realised that clean ups were not going to solve the issues.
“We found out that every year, more than eight million tonnes of plastic enter our seas, and that today, the vast majority of plastics produced worldwide, around 79%, end up in the environment, with the big majority reaching the marine environment. Millions of birds, fish, whales and turtles die every year as a result of the plastic waste that our consumption model causes. In just a few decades We are destroying natural processes that take hundreds of millions of years to develop.” they explain.
The information, while heavy to process, motivated the driven couple to ask themselves how they could help change the negative forecast and to do what’s in their power to not only reduce their own plastic footprint but also to help others to do the same.
“Private companies, especially large companies and /or multinationals have an immense responsibility. Only a radical change in the type of products they offer, and particularly in the packaging they use, can contribute to a notable improvement.”
Sandra and John considered how “shops of the future” could be designed in order to minimise waste generation and prevent that plastics end up in the environment.
“We concluded that our consumption model should return to the form it had in the old times when we were purchasing in bulk, when the customer was using his or her own container to be filled with milk, wine, oil etc. in the store.. We remembered the different bulk shops in which we had been during our travels and decided to open up a shop based on those principles.”
The young duo have a strong will to help build a more sustainable world. In addition to offering package free fruits and veggies, rice, pastas, flour, grains, nut cream, cereals, teas etc. they also offer kombucha, detergent, body wash, shampoo and other hygiene products. But the dream goes beyond sales. The couple aspire to become a center that contributes to collective awareness by organising workshops, educational talks and activities such as beach cleans, cooking workshops and so on for those inspired to learn more and take action.
“We have two small children and want to live in a world that where, in stead of destroying it, humans come together to regenerate it.”
To Sandra and John it was important to develop a business that is based on and fully aligned with their own personal values.
“We want to be transparent and respectful to nature, to follow our truth, to nurture our willingness to learn, to help other, to live a healthy life, one that is also rich in human relationships, and to always try to be the best version of ourselves, with humility. We want to live in an as harmonious way as possible with nature and be able to look at our children in the eyes knowing we are doing the best we can do for their future.”
We asked for Sandra and John’s recommendations for all of us who’d like to start transitioning towards a low impact lifestyle.
“Firstly, please truly believe that it is possible. Start small and do a little more each day. A lifestyle change is a process, it doesn’t happen over night. But seeing your achievements and waste reduction over time results in an enormous satisfaction. Plan you shopping by making a list and choose local shops that sell bulk food. Choose food of the season and try to opt for local foods from nearby producers whenever you can. Dare to refuse single use plastic. And understand that the change is in your hands. It won’t come from above. It starts with us and is based on our choices and on what we demand.”
Save The Med Foundation