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Where can I buy food with out plastic wrapping in Kent?

By Lydia Catling

The Eco Pantry will open its doors for the first time this weekend.

The eco-friendly shop is Sevenoaks' first zero-waste, plastic-free store.

Karen O'Brien, 30, and her partner Callum O'Reilly, 30, set up the business after they noticed the large amount of single-use plastic they were throwing away every week.

Karen and Callum started their business at farmers markets across Kent (13944928)
Karen and Callum started their business at farmers markets across Kent (13944928)

Callum said: "People these days often do a monthly shop in a supermarket and there isn't an emotional connection with food any more. They can come to us and appreciate seeing and feeling the food and reduce their single-use plastic waste too."

Customers are invited to bring along their own containers and fill them up with products available in the store.

Shoppers can choose from a large selection of dried foods, including nuts, pasta and rice, which the company try their best to source from local suppliers, as well as environmentally-friendly household products such as soaps and laundry detergent.

The shop will sell a variety of dried foods (13944932)
The shop will sell a variety of dried foods (13944932)

All food produce is sold by weight so customers can choose the right amount for them and reduce food waste.

Karen, an NHS photographer, said: "We wanted to create an easy way for people to reduce their plastic usage and make plastic-free products more accessible in Kent."

The couple, from Borough Green, had been thinking about setting up a zero-waste store for a while but didn't seriously consider the business venture until two years ago when Karen heard about the first plastic-free store in the UK opening in Devon.

The shop opens its doors on Saturday (13944934)
The shop opens its doors on Saturday (13944934)

They visited the Earth.Food.Love store in Totnes, Devon, and were inspired to start an equivalent in Kent.

The Eco Pantry began with a stall at the Tonbridge Vegan Show in September 2018 and has since grown in popularity at county farmers markets.

The shop will be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with plans to open more frequently as the business grows.

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