At the start of Zero Waste Week, Elaine Reilly explains why she’s far from crazy to have opened a new eco living store in Norwich, in the current climate…
I started the business having spent the last six years or so nagging everyone I know about the changes we can all make in our life and realised for a lot of people they don’t know where to start. That’s how the idea formed and grew.
The sign for Sustainability Station actually says there is no planet B. We are provided with the most wonderful planet and we take it for granted in every aspect of our lives. We need to do everything we can to preserve it for future generations.
Born in the East End of London to a Norfolk family, life didn’t give me an easy start. Supported by an army of strong women, I studied at UEA, built a career in London and Essex and had a wonderful family. I’ve made many false moves along the way and moved back to my roots about seven years ago. I’m still learning…still growing.
Apart from raising a family, my career has been in hospitality and retail. Even in hospitality I have long been an environmentalist. I think I was the first person in the city to sell water in cans instead of bottles.
Lockdown has been a double edged sword. On a personal level it has been difficult being separated from my elderly mother and difficult financially, as it has for so many of us. But it has given me time to recharge and plan. I haven’t had more than a week off in the last five years so I have been able to reboot my energy.
People think I’m crazy opening a new business in the current climate and there have been challenges with supplies etc. I hope, though, that the shop reflects the mood of the moment and that that will carry us through.
We have a whole host of locally made items, from wash mitts, hanging baskets and scarves to a range of lovely personal products. Our current local companies are Lulu et compagnie, Radical Botanicals, and Zero Waste Path. We hope to add more as we grow.
Our website and online shop is currently under construction. In the meantime, people can ring for orders. We use Zedify for local deliveries so no traffic pollution. Future plans are simply to grow this into a successful, community hub.
ELAINE’S SUSTAINABILITY SUGGESTIONS:
Cotton buds – please get rid of those plastic ones and swap to a bamboo alternative
Toothbrush – the average person in Britain throws away six plastic ones a year and there are more than 60 million of us!
Dishwasher sponges – apart from the fact they breed germs they are going to be in a landfill forever. Swap to coconut, jute or other compostable alternatives
Clingfilm – horrible stuff. Swap to beeswax or reusable coverings/sandwich bags
Water bottles – please, please stop buying plastic bottles of the stuff. Take your reusable bottle with you everywhere!
Sustainability Station can be found at 16 Exchange Street, Norwich