Rotherham's first zero waste shop: save money and save the planet

THE MANAGER of Rotherham’s first zero waste shop told of her passion to reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill - and help customers save cash as well as the planet.

Marta Kurdyban launched Be Sustainable at the Tanyard Wickersley last November in the hope many more people would share her interest in sustainable living.

It operates as a refill shop, where customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable containers and stock up on everything from herbs and spices to dried fruit and cereal, from washing powder and shampoo to pasta and olive oil.

“The idea is to produce no waste,” she said.

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“I want to be able to look in my black bin and see no rubbish at all.”

As well as reducing landfill waste, Marta points out, reusing containers cuts out the huge slice of the product price which comes from packaging.

If you don’t have your own containers, you can also take your shopping home in one of the free recycled jars Marta has in the shop, with the hope that you’ll bring them back again for another refill.

New jars and bottles - also reusable and refillable - are sold with first purchases of honey and olive oil, both of which are sourced from local suppliers.

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“I explain to people that they don’t have to bring the bottles back but if they do they can get them refilled,” Marta added.

“I don’t actually want to sell anyone a bottle.

“Anything I save on not buying bottles I can put into new stock.

“If people are buying plastic and throwing it away, it not only costs more but it becomes a vicious circle.”

Be Sustainable also stocks eco-friendly, reusable sandwich bags, water bottles, beeswax food wraps, linen produce bags.

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Anything not sold in a bottle or jar comes in a paper, rather than plastic, bag.

Marta said she had been inspired by visiting a pop-up ethical shop and a regular food market to reduce her personal waste footprint and began using chemical-free products when working as a cleaner.

She swears by bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice and vinegar as vital cleaning supplies, says the washing-up liquid she sells is as kind to your skin as the shampoo and tries to use as few chemicals as possible when cleaning houses.

Among her stock are two books by green-living guru Nancy Birtwhistle, which are full of tips about cutting waste and using natural products.

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“If I could, I’d buy everyone a copy of her books,” said Marta.

Marta said she had been on the lookout for the chance to open a shop in Wickersley and snapped up the former Rotherham Hospice unit when it became free.

As well as some loyal regular customers, she has also received the support of artist Jennifer Elson, whose artwork on the shop window illustrates the products on sale.

She said her business model was simple, adding: “If people bring their own containers to reuse and I have my own large containers refilled, between us we are not sending anything to landfill and that could go on for thousands of years.

“I find that really inspiring.”

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