Plastic-free supermarket opens in Southsea as owners urge others to follow suit

A PLASTIC-FREE shop has opened in the heart of Southsea.

Sunday, 12th July 2020, 11:20 am
Updated Sunday, 12th July 2020, 11:20 am

On Saturday, July 10, The Package Free Larder opened its doors in Elm Grove for the first time.

The social enterprise, which has been in the works since last year, allows shoppers to buy all their essentials without the environmental burden of single-use plastics.

Inside, people can pick up toiletries, washing powder, spices, snacks, cereals and more, before taking them home in their own containers, jars or brown paper bags.

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Esther Rodriguez, left, and Connie Fenner. Picture Ian Hargreaves (110720-3)

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Connie Fenner has been one of those behind the operation since its inception.

She said: ‘We are all really excited – a bit nervous, but we’ve got a lot of support and plenty of volunteers helping us out.

‘As a group we set this up because we though there should be a way for people in Portsmouth to shop plastic-free.

From left, Miguel Ruiz, Vlad Arhire and Maddie Sullivan Picture Ian Hargreaves (110720-5)

‘This is the first place of its kind in the city and we’re really proud of that.’

The shop will be open from 2-6.30pm every day, except Mondays and Thursdays.

A one-way system and social distancing measures are in place for the store.

In a ceremonial opening, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan cut a ribbon made of excess brown paper.

From left, Sammy Higgs. Maddy Sullivan, and Connie Fenner. Picture Ian Hargreaves (110720-2)

Mr Morgan said: ‘These guys have done an absolutely brilliant job.

‘The Package Free Larder is a really good example of local people dreaming big, then working hard to make that dream a success.

‘It’s a social enterprise so the money made will go back into both the shop and the community.

‘We have all seen how we can improve our environment during the coronavirus crisis – so it’s important that we keep on pushing to make Portsmouth a greener, stronger city.’

Sammy Higgs Picture Ian Hargreaves (110720-4)

After showing Portsmouth how it’s done, Connie and the team are optimistic that other shops will make the move to becoming a plastic-free enterprise.

Connie added: ‘The only thing you have to bear in mind is selling things by weight, but once you get past that obstacle it’s honestly so easy.

‘I hope the big supermarkets follow suit going forward and other shops in Portsmouth give it a go as well.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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