During our first months in Spain, we struggled just to find certain products. Our language skills weren’t very good, so some days even the grocery store seemed mysterious. Our primary concern was to maintain our home-based vegan cooking ways so we had to undertake a dedicated search and learn effort to adapt our American buying and cooking habits to our new home.
The truth is we didn’t spend too much time worrying about excess packaging and plastic waste.
But almost as soon as we got comfortable with grocery shopping here in Valencia, we started to get uncomfortable in a whole new way. Maybe after spending the summer months visiting the beach had something to do with it too. We started noticing all the unnecessary plastics being used and then floating around on the winds and waves after being discarded.
So just as we started seriously looking for alternatives to highly packaged foods and products, we came across the nicest little zero waste shop.
Flipo en verde means “hallucinating, dreaming, or wishing” in green.
We were out walking with our dog Lizze one cold night last winter when we first noticed Flipo en Verde. It looked like bulk food items were on offer, a rarity here in Spain. And the entry seemed so warm and welcoming we decide to investigate. While Jamie waited in the street with Lizzie, Susan went in to investigate.
Shortly thereafter, Yvonne had invited everyone in. We peeps were sharing a cup of tea and talking about leading a low impact lifestyle. Lizzie was waiting patiently.
The timing was ideal. We had just taken stock of our buying habits. Serendipity, you've got to love it.
About Flipo en Verde
Yvonne opened her shop on Calle Micer Mascó 6 in September 2018. The location is in a nice residential neighborhood with two schools, the university, a hospital, and proximity to the city center. Even though her original intent was to create a friendly neighborhood shop, Yvonne’s customers come from all over Valencia. We think it’s because of her positive approach to doing business. She is so welcoming that even kids from the nearby schools stop in to say hi.
What’s on Offer?
Flipo en Verde is still small, offering about 150 products that people need on a daily/weekly basis. Think of the shop as your personal mini-supermarket. Because with the highly personalized shopping experience you’ll have it will be. The experience is so positive that more than 95 percent of Yvonne’s customers return regularly.
- Food products offered in bulk include: flours, grains, nuts, cereals, dried fruits, beans, spices, teas, chocolates, etc.
- In the non-food category the store carries: soaps, detergents, cleaners, re-useable sandwich wraps, string bags, cups, non-plastic tools such as brushes, plus toiletries.
- There are new products added to the line-up every week.
You can bring your own container, purchase re-useable containers, or use a paper bag.
Flipo en Verde’s driving vision is to offer only high quality foodsuffs and household products unencumbered by single use packaging. When working with distributers, reducing plastic packaging is the store’s primary goal.
Unfortunately, the distributor network for zero waste is not well developed in Spain. Today, Yvonne works with about 8 distributors regularly and is continually contacting other potential distributors in Spain whom she hopes to flip to a zero waste distribution process.
In the first year, Flipo en Verde will continue to present new and different products to see just what customers want and really love.
Yvonne’s customers are predominately young women, age 23 – 31 who are attracted to the store’s zero waste philosophy. In fact, 95 percent of Yvonne’s customers are women.
Older folks like us make up only about 10 percent of her customer base, but that’s no excuse. Jamie often stops in to pick up beans or spices that he needs to prepare our evening meal. If he’s comfortable in a store chances are nearly everyone will be -- the old curmudgeon.
There are other zero waste stores in Valencia but none in the Mestalla area and none so nice.
We think Yvonne is a remarkable young woman and we are delighted that through her business we can reduce our environmental impact.
Yvonne was born in Germany but grew up in Cantabria after her parents moved to Santander when she was 2 years old.
Yvonne attended Universidad Complutense de Madrid where she earned a degree in journalism. Her journalism dreams of becoming an international correspondent or photojournalist took her to Cologne, Germany where she worked for two years. But the time she spent in Germany was filled with longing. She missed Spain.
Despite her German heritage, Yvonne feels more Spanish than German. So she returned to Santander to teach English at a private academy while formulating a flipo plan that included a move to Valencia.
Yvonne's future goals are to open a second shop, have about 5 employees, and start her own family.
Flipo en Verde is on Calle Micer Mascó 6. Valencia, 46010
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Susan Carey retired in 2017 after a long business career most recently in animal welfare leadership. She writes about her experiences as a recent retiree living in Spain. Susan lives in Valencia, Spain with her husband, Jamie, and the senior pets they brought with them from the United States.
Jamie Wyant is a retired American living in Spain. After a multifaceted career ranging from ecosystem science to digital marketing, he moved to Valencia in 2017 with his wife, Susan, and their senior pets. He writes about the joys and tribulations of living overseas. Jamie also manages the technical aspects of GentleCycle.net