Local Business Demonstrate Packing-free Practices in Dar es Salaam

GAIA member Nipe Fagio interviewed local shopkeeper Stonida P. Mwasemele, from Ubungo Msewe in Dar es Salaam.

How long has your place of business been open?

I’ve been part of this business for 16 years after I inherited this shop from my mother, who started the business here in the early 1990s.

What goods do you sell at this shop?

At my shop, we sell goods from local farms, such as flour, maize, rice, beans, coconuts, and many other food products. We also sell other goods like soap, jelly, toothpaste, soft drink etc.

Do you follow zero waste principles in your business?

My mother practised zero waste; it was their way of life a long time ago. However, due to the nature of the recent market, customers and different types of products, it makes it challenging to practise zero waste for all products that we sell to customers.

Do you think people who are your regulars, come because your product is not in plastic packaging?

Yes, most customers prefer to buy from us because of the type of packaging offered. We use cardboard packaging at a reasonable price, but some come with their own carrying bags.

What are some good lessons you have learned when running your business?

  • The best business practices are environmentally friendly;
  • We can be environmental activists by maintaining African zero waste practices in Tanzania.  

What are some of the challenges you face in your line of work?

  • Low capital & customer;
  • Market competition from other packaging materials of the same goods;
  • Some products are not sustainable for zero waste practices in Tanzania;
  • The lack of Government intervention to reduce environmental pollution.

Why should customers support businesses like yours that have been operating for years?

It is friendly to the environment and reflects African Culture.

What do you hope for future business owners in this field?

Economic recovery for zero waste practices in Africa. This will bring hope to environmentalists documenting African practices on zero waste in the business model.

What principles should they keep in mind?

  • Ensuring zero waste systems are achieved at a high level in all parts of Tanzania.
  • Government intervention towards zero waste policy in Tanzania.
  • Managing zero waste practice at the low level of the life cycle, such as at the household level to the national level.