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Zoe Hedges, owner and founder of Eco Cumbria, is crowdfunding to raise a total of £3,000 for the exciting new venture of opening a plastic free shop in a Penrith. If reached, the money will cover rent, shop fitting and initial stock for the new venture, which will be located in Penrith’s Devonshire Arcade.

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Everyone knows the damage single use plastics are doing to our planet – every minute a refuse wagon of plastic is dumped into our oceans, and this is set to increase tenfold by 2020 if we do not act. 3rd September was the start of Zero Waste Week and there is no time like the present. Speaking to local people it seems that so many of them are ready to take steps towards a plastic-free lifestyle but that there is a real gap in the market in Penrith for eco-conscious shopping.

My family has been making small changes to reduce our plastic use, such as changing to having milk delivered in glass bottles and using cloth nappies for my young twins, for some time, and it would be wonderful to share my knowledge and experience with others through the new store.

If the crowdfunding campaign is successful, the new store will stock a range of products including reusable food wraps, baby wipes, cloth nappies, drink ing straws, and a range of tasty food – all completely plastic free. I’m is hoping to open in time for the pre-Christmas period, offering shoppers the chance to buy eco-conscious gifts for friends and family.

The response to the online version of Eco Cumbria has been incredible, but to be able to offer a high-street outlet for our products would be a dream come true, making plastic-free shopping easier and more convenient. I hope that my local community will feel able to give their support to our efforts to curb plastic use in Penrith.

Anyone wanting to support the project can pledge online at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/eco-Cumbria, with supporters able to select a plastic-free gift based on the level of pledges made.