Worthing's first zero waste shop gets positive welcome to town

The owner of Worthing's first zero waste shop said feedback from the public had been hugely positive since the store's opening just over a week ago.

Jean Raleigh, a former biology and environmental sciences teacher who taught at Davison High School in Worthing, is the mind behind Larder in Montague Street, just off the west end of the precinct.

Jean Raleigh at Larder in Worthing's Montague Street

Jean Raleigh at Larder in Worthing's Montague Street

The shop belongs to Jean's family and was formerly the Raleigh the Tailors, going through several further incarnations as a cafe, shoe shop and deli before becoming Larder.

Jean said of the shop: "The ethos is to reduce plastic packaging and get people to think about their own responsibility for waste."

Larder stocks food such as dried nuts, seeds, pulses, grains and pasta, which are all mainly organic. Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers, paper bags and glass jars and fill them up.

She describes it as 'an old fashioned scoop and weigh' - similar to the popular shop Easy Weigh which was located in the Guildbourne Centre for many years.

"A lot of people remember that shop," she said. "This idea is not new to Worthing."

The concept also reduces food waste, as customers can fill up their containers as much or as little as they like.

Jean said zero waste shops were popping up all over the country and that there was a big support network of people sharing ideas on social media about how to make them work.

She said Worthing was an ideal place for the store.

"There's so much eco stuff going on in Worthing," she said, citing projects like Transition Town Worthing and Journey to Free Waste Worthing.

Worthing Borough Council recently promised to aspire to become a plastic free council - but fell short of committing the town to becoming plastic-free by 2020.

Jean said feedback from customers had been 'really positive' so far - with many saying they had been on the lookout for this sort of shop for a long time.

She said that while she had customers from across the board, she was surprised to have so many younger people in their 20s coming in.

The shop also sells other items designed to eliminate single-use plastic - from cosmetics including bamboo toothbrushes and natural deodorant, to useful items such as metal straws and beeswax wraps and cleaning products.

She insisted that the idea of cutting down on single-use plastic need not be 'overwhelming' and said she wanted to help people 'make small swaps' while also keeping it affordable.

Jean sources local products whenever possible and said she was forming some 'really nice collaborations' with local sellers, such as the makers of Findon honey.

Going forward, Jean hopes to be able to run workshops from the back of the shop where people can make their own natural deodarant, beeswax wraps and kombucha.

The Sussex Cloth Nappy Library will also be set up in an area of the shop twice a week.

The store is open on Wednesday from 9am to 4pm, Thursday and Friday from 11am to 7pm and Saturday from 9am to 5pm.

Find out more by visiting @zerowastelarder on Facebook or www.zerowastelarder.co.uk

SEE MORE: These Sussex mums rent out cloth nappies - and here's why you should use them

Worthing Borough Council to aspire to become a plastic-free council