My name is Lucy, I'm a Mum to two boys aged 12 and 15, and I have a growing passion to be more sustainable. I am wanting to bring an accessible to all, affordable, one stop low waste shopping experience to Ipswich through a new shop: Unwrapped & Refill.
I am extremely excited to be able to give something back to the community of Ipswich and help pay forward to make a brighter future for our children. I will make the shop a success as I am passionate about the cause and the change it can make to everyone. I have a wealth of experience working with the general public, from working in restaurants to department stores to a GP Surgery. I have worked in a major chain supermarket for many years, understanding how to stock rotate, dispose of items and help with customer queries. I enjoy interacting with the general public and feel I have a good understanding of what people want and need.
Unwrapped & Refill is a low waste, refill store which will fulfill a growing need for the community to be less wasteful with packaging, food, cleaning and personal care products. The store will serve as a one stop shop for all the essential items whilst running as a social enterprise. Combining business and social elements to pave the way to making changes for an environmentally better future for people, animals and the planet.
Over the last year or so I have become increasingly more aware of the problems plastic and food waste is having on our environment. Watching 'Blue Planet' and 'War on Plastics' really brought it home for me and the changes we, as individuals can have on the wider world. It shocked me to see the amount of single use plastics we have in our home and the amount of waste that goes to landfill or heading into the ocean. I want there to be a bright, clean and happy future for my boys, not a world that is suffocating under a blanket of pollution.
*picture on the right from Rubbish Walks, a local group set up to collect rubbish in Ipswich*
I began by making simple swaps for plastic free items, hand soap bars and reusable face wipes were one of the first items I switched. Then came buying from the local grocers and taking my containers to the butchers. I was able to find a few refill products, laundry detergent and washing up liquid from various shops nearby but I couldn't find store cupboard ingredients. I was still having to shop at a major supermarket for many items and ordering online for some other goods.
I was becoming more and more frustrated having to spend so much time sourcing products from different places just to try and be more environmentally friendly. I didn't have the time or money to maintain this and thought 'why isn't there somewhere in Ipswich that I could shop for the majority of my shopping in one place?!' This soon spiralled into wanting to open my own shop and Unwrapped & Refill was created.
The average person uses 156 plastic bottles a year! Imagine the change we could make, together, by simply swapping a few products.
On average 50% of food waste happens in the home! You would think it would be in restaurants or in work places or schools but nope. We are buying it and then binning it.
By 2050 it is predicted if we continue the way we are currently, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish! That is madness is it not? 937 million tonnes of plastic in the ocean compared to 895 million tonnes of fish.
The survey I have conducted showed people want to change their habits for the better but need an affordable and convenient way to do this. People want to help the local community, produce less pollution for the world and provide a cleaner future for the next generation. Simple steps by reducing plastic waste, shopping locally and having less food waste are all things that can be achieved with the refill store.
People's opinions, including my own, of zero waste shopping is that it is expensive, not easy or convenient and it is needed to help the planet. Opening up the zero waste shop would help combat these theories. Selling items with less packaging and sourcing locally will help keep costs down for the customer and help the planet. By only purchasing what is needed will help reduce food waste in the home and also help the customers wallet. Having many items under one roof will help with the convenience factor too.
Unwrapped & Refill will allow the community to shop locally, ethically and reduce their food and landfill waste. The business is a social enterprise- this to me means Purpose, People and the Planet over Profits. Combining business and social elements to pave the way to making changes for an environmentally better future for people, animals and the planet.
If I am able to secure a premises with extra spaces, I would like to be able to offer workshops and events to teach new skills such as repairing an item of clothing or making food wraps. This will drive the social aspect of the business, to help educate people on being more sustainable and to have the confidence to make changes. We need to start building a better future for generations to come and having the skills in the first place will help achieve this.
I will offer a wide range of bulk foods without excess packaging.
Store cupboard essentials: flour, grains, beans, pulses, cereals, dried fruits, tea, coffee, herbs and spices as refills.
Personal care, household items and cleaning products as reusable and refills.
Seasonal fruit and vegetables without packaging.
Tinned goods and reusable baby products.
Fresh bread and cakes sourced from a local supplier.
Over time I would like to extend the products available to include frozen loose goods, oils and vinegar, drinks and dairy produce.
*An inspiring shop layout.
Shopping in a zero waste shop means bringing your own reusable containers to fill with as much food, personal care and cleaning products as you like and paying by weight.
The customer would bring in their own containers, jars and bags to refill. There will also be a selection of containers to buy, or a clean recycled container/ jar or paper bag for free. The empty container will be weighed and the weight noted. Next, is to fill the container with the produce, have it reweighed and then pay. Simple! This means the customer can shop and pay only for the amount they need. Using a modern scale and till system will make this way of shopping hassle free and easy to do- which is what a customer will want.
I want to help the community make easy swaps on what they would normally buy at a large supermarket and understand the need for a variety of products to choose from. What one person might find an easy switch, someone else might not, so a choice of products to shop from is vital to encourage a positive environmentally friendly change. Accessibility to the shop is also a must, even more so since the pandemic has begun. Opening hours, space available to shop safely and to shop without judgement are all things I need to think about and put in action to ensure the shop is a success.
As a social enterprise at least 10% of the profits will be put towards some great local causes; supporting the homeless, a foodbank and period poverty. I am also planning to offer a membership scheme. Having a membership will help drive sales and keep the customers interested by having an incentive to return again and again. The membership will be offered to give 10% off all food items in the shop.
10% off Standard member £30
10% off Students/ over 70's £20
10% off Low income £10
-To provide affordable plastic free packaged items, refillable supplies and reusable goods all under one roof. Having the majority of goods in one space will help the customer to save time, fuel and money.
-Make it easier for the customer to shop for refills and low waste products.
-Help to protect the environment by selling less wasteful products.
-Reducing food waste by allowing the customer to buy only what is needed.
-Run workshops to help educate people. For example in basic kitchen skills, repairing clothes, fixing broken equipment and how to be more resourceful.
-Rent out extra spaces to local businesses to support the ethos of the shop and promote a community led atmosphere.
I have personal savings which will secure the premises lease, rent, solicitor fees and insurance costs. I am in the process of securing a startup loan for the business also. As you can imagine, initial rent and solicitor fees are expensive but necessary costs and I need help with other items to create the shop. This is an ‘all or nothing’ campaign meaning if the target is not reached, all monies will be returned to the supporters and no money will be given towards Unwrapped & Refill
The money raised will be going towards specialised gravity dispensers (approx 3-4k), scoop bins and accessories, the initial stock (approx £5k), rental of a modern till and scales system.
As the shop ethos is all about being more sustainable and less wasteful, I will try and use secondhand or refurbishing items wherever possible. Items such as shelving and storage units for example can be up-cycled and a fridge can be sourced secondhand. Using local businesses and suppliers will help keep costs and carbon emissions down too. That's a win win all round! Reduce. Reuse. Rethink.
Also through Back her Business with Natwest there is a chance to get up to 50% (maximum of £5,000) of the funds raised contributed by them. This is a brilliant scheme to support women in the workplace. Another great reason to support the campaign!
If you are passionate about helping the planet and want to see shops like Unwrapped & Refill become the new normal way of shopping then please donate what you can and check out the rewards. If you believe in the cause but unable to contribute financially then please get sharing the campaign instead.
You can follow my journey on the following social media platforms-
If you would like to get in contact for more information, want to be able to help in some way or you have an idea then please do send me an email, I would love to hear from you. Unwrappedandrefill@gmail.com