The owner of a zero-waste store in Sale has hosted the first zero-waste pop-up shop in Irlam.
The pop-up shop came to St James’ Church to encourage Irlam and Cadishead residents to start an eco-friendly shopping journey.
Louise Booth, 53, is the owner of Utopia, a zero-waste store in Sale, and admits the concept is new.
She said: “In Irlam there’s nothing like this at all, so people wouldn’t know where to start. I really want to help the people of Irlam and Cadishead.”
Household products such as washing up liquid, washing scrubbers made from 100% Hemp and 100% compostable dog poo bags were amongst those available to buy.
Despite small numbers of attendance at the pop up, Louise said: “I’m not going to give up raising awareness, I’m going to keep trying and trying.”
A typical shopping trip at either the store or the pop-up would be to take your own existing plastic, bottles and refill them with eco-friendly, cruelty free, vegan products.
Louise said: “We encourage people to do this instead of recycling and then go out and buying more plastic.”
Louise’s journey started off from having a market stall and then found that people were unsure how to start their own eco-friendly journey.
She then took it upon herself to open her shop to educate and help others.
Louise said: “The response has been amazing, there’s a real community spirit. They like to chat about it and feel my passion and their own passion about it.
“My shop stands for sustainability and recycling.”
However, Louise believes, many people are in denial about what’s happening in the world.
According to research by YouGov earlier this year, 46% of people in the UK feel guilty about the amount of plastic they use. More people are keen to reduce their carbon footprint.
However, some people do not recognise this as an issue. The research revealed 33% of people would not be willing to spend more for biodegradable packaging.
Oliver Lancaster, 32, founder of Shole, an eco-manufacturing company that supplies other companies with eco-friendly products, was in attendance of the pop-up shop.
He said: “I was relatively aware of climate change but watching programmes like David Attenborough and seeing the effect it has on wildlife is heart breaking.
“Prior to this I was in retail manufacturing and thought I could do something, so I did”.
Oliver recognised the cost of being eco-friendly and strives to provide the best affordable prices for companies that buy his products.
In despite of commitments to reduce supermarket waste in recent years, research by the Environmental Investigation Agency and Greenpeace released in November, found that the 10 biggest supermarkets increased plastic use by 17,000 tonnes in the past year.
Oliver says: “If you put a tax of £10 per kilo on plastic packaging, you can be pretty certain that companies would find alternatives”.
Louise agrees that more can be done, she said: “Fines have got to be introduced on waste and production of plastic definitely.”
Other than the products available, Utopia also have a sign in their window for people to get free water refills in their bottles, rather than going and buying more plastic water bottles.
Usually there’s an emotive turning point of realisation for most people. Louise said: “An incident happened in the summer whilst I was at my mums.
“We saw a bird fly past and it had something hanging from its claw.
“We were like ‘what’s that?’ and then realised it was a plastic bag.
“It’s happening and it’s terrible what it’s doing to animals and the environment”.
For those who have never been a consumer of eco-friendly products or reducing their carbon footprint, it can be overwhelming where to start.
Louise said: “Start in one room, like the bathroom or the kitchen and then let it grow from there. Those rooms usually have the most plastic.
“One small step makes a big difference”.
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Image Credit: Adiva Lewis