Dispensary Walkden

The Dispensary, a zero-waste shop in Salford, will stay open over lockdown despite it being a big risk to the business.

The shop in Walkden, Salford, has made zero-waste products more accessible to locals who want to start their eco-friendly journey.

Owner and school teacher Fay Watts, 34, said: “When the going gets tough I’m going to step forward, just go for it and stay open.

“Some of my customers haven’t bought washing up liquid in plastic for over a year now and for me to step back and say ‘sorry you’re going to have to go to Tesco’, that’s not cool.

“It just would not be right and I am an essential shop.”

Refill Station at The Dispensary

The shop faced a tough decision with the announcement of lockdown 2, since staying open means they would not receive support from the government.

However, closing their doors was not an option for the business and its customers.

Fay said: “If I stay open I get no help, I will have to pay full rent and if nobody comes in, then that would be the end of the dispensary.

“I am taking a risk to stay open to support you guys who have come so far on your plastic waste journey and I want to be there to provide for my customers.

“The risks are great but I also think if I’m serious about encouraging people to shop zero-waste and go plastic free then I need to be there to support them when they need it the most.

“I’m going to be the only part in that shopping centre that’s actually open so there will be zero footfall, it’s going to have to be people actually coming to the shop to visit me.”

Refillable products at The Dispensary

The first of its kind in the city, The Dispensary provides eco-friendly toiletries and cleaning products as well as in-store food refills where you can purchase cereals, dried fruit and more.

Fay added: “I have faith in my customers that they will be there and they will not let me down.

“I posted on Instagram and I got such an amazing reaction, people really appreciated the fact that I was going to stay open and risk it for them, people described it as a bold, brave and a brilliant move.

“I feel like is it crazy? Is it silly? Nah, it will be fine.”

The Dispensary also wants to encourage the idea of shopping locally.

Fay said: “Shopping local is so so important, until I had my own shop I didn’t fully realise the importance of it. The amount that actually goes back into your community if you shop local… well you are improving your area.

“Every time I get a customer, it is just amazing that someone has come to my shop, and decided to shop small, to make the ethical choice and to support me as well.

“I would like to encourage people to think about the bigger picture, so with Amazon I know it is convenient but it screws it up for everyone else, it adds to this inequality.

“Convenience is what is messing the planet up because, we don’t take things into consideration anymore and you don’t think carefully about what you are doing, what you are using.

“The more you help your local economy and shop small, the more you support real people who are trying to improve Salford.”

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