Plans for Eastbourne’s first ever Zero Waste shop

Sapphyre, Geny and Neil
Sapphyre, Geny and Neil

Eastbourne’s first ever Zero Waste store is set to open in the near future, writes Paul Stevens.

Sapphyre Callaghan, of Arundel Road, hopes to open Urban Forager in Eastbourne in early June but requires donations to make sure that becomes a reality.

She is being supported by parents Geny and Neil, who will assist her in the day-to-day running of the business and a portion of their net profit will be donated to local environment groups.

Sapphyre said, “Our mission is to make Eastbourne a plastic-free town, after Lewes.

“When we thought of the idea there were only three in the country but more and more are popping up now.”

“It is package-free shopping so people can come in with their own containers and we will offer plastic-free alternatives in return like toothbrushes, reusable straws and feminine hygiene products,” she said.

The family described how they had been motivated to open the store after watching David Attenborough’s BBC documentary series, Blue Planet, which shone a light on excessive everyday use of plastic.

Wimbledon recently banned plastic straws at this year’s tennis Championships and Sapphire said people were becoming more readily aware of the issue of plastic pollution.

Neil said, “We’re not in it to make a lot of money. We want to raise awareness of this plastic invasion, benefit Eastbourne and encourage the community to buy local produce.”

They will now be holding a public fundraiser this Saturday (May 5), of which all proceeds from people selling their items will go straight into Urban Forager.

It will take place at St. Agnes Church Hall in Whitley Road from 10am – 2.30pm and the family are actively looking for more volunteers to help them out.

Geny said, “We didn’t want the business to be bland or sterile. We treat everyone who comes into our shop as if they were a member of our family.”

The family’s ambition is to one day introduce the idea to Geny’s native country, the Philippines, which has the world’s 5th highest plastic consumption.

Sapphyre also called on Eastbourne residents and companies to donate money to their Indiegogo and GoFundMe crowdfunding projects.

Those who do donate will not only boost their green footprint but they will also be able to receive perks of 10 / 20 per cent lifetime discounts from the shop.

“We will ensure that everything is locally, organically and ethically produced whilst balancing cost and quality,” said Sapphyre.

Anyone interested in volunteering should visit the Urban Forager Eastbourne Facebook page.

The links to the crowdfunding pages are here and here.