MEET GREG DOWNS – PAVING THE WAY FOR PLASTIC-FREE GROCERS

Greg Downs is the Store Manager of Hilton Quarry Superspar in Hilton, in the KZN-Midlands. After having watched a video feature on the effects of plastic on the oceans on Sky News, Greg applied his mind to how he could reduce his carbon footprint and encourage his community to do the same. Together with the support of his staff, Greg set about an initiative to get rid of plastic in his store by replacing plastic bags with brown paper bags. The support from the community and neighbouring areas has been astounding. Greg has further plans to ensure his store is as plastic-free as possible; next on the list is replacing plastic straws with bio-degradable straws, as well as introducing cardboard for all in-store packaging.

  1. What are you most passionate about?

“My family, friends and community.”

  1. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

“Changing from plastic bags to paper bags! Seriously though, it has been a big decision for our business which has turned out to be very positive for us!”

  1. What makes you angry?

“Not much, but not sticking to your word or agreement would be close to the top.”

  1. Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

“Hunter . . . ”

  1. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Eight – the important ones, in no particular order are:

  • Golf Shoes
  • Vellies (preferably not real animal leather)
  • Boots (for the outdoor look)
  • Boots (for outdoor wear)
  • Black and Brown smart shoes (mostly for weddings)
  • Slops
  • Slippers”

 

  1. If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Obviously weather dependent, but it would begin with a light, warm starter of baked puff pastry tart with roasted balsamic tomatoes, mozzarella and chorizo, followed by a pulled pork & mushroom risotto with a truffle foam and baby beetroot herbs, and would finish with vanilla ice cream and Bar-One chocolate sauce. There may be a little cheese board involved as well, and wine, of course.”

  1. How would people communicate in a perfect world?

Face-to-face.”

  1. What do you work toward in your free time?

My handicap!” 

  1. If you woke up and had 300 unread emails and could only answer 30 of them, how would you choose which ones to answer?

“On a first come, first serve basis.” 

  1. Name 3 things in nature you find most beautiful.

Grass, water and trees!” 

  1. Have you used plastic bags for your shopping in the last two weeks?

“No, we don’t keep those in our house or store anymore. Only brown or reusable bags are allowed.”

  1. What would you say are some small steps that people can take to improve their relationship with the environment?

To think about tomorrow and not today.  There are still a lot more people to pass through this planet.”

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