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Vegan-friendly and zero-waste shop for Norwich

PUBLISHED: 18:21 06 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:44 07 January 2019

Graham Rutherford and Laura Colman, both 34, plan to open a zero-waste and vegan-friendly shop in Norwich.

Graham Rutherford and Laura Colman, both 34, plan to open a zero-waste and vegan-friendly shop in Norwich.

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A Lowestoft woman and her partner plan to open Norwich's first zero-waste shop.

Graham Rutherford, from Nottingham, and Laura Colman, from Lowestoft, both 34, run the online vegan-friendly store Ethical Ernie and plan to open a zero-waste shop in Norwich.Graham Rutherford, from Nottingham, and Laura Colman, from Lowestoft, both 34, run the online vegan-friendly store Ethical Ernie and plan to open a zero-waste shop in Norwich.

Laura Colman and Graham Rutherford, both 34, currently run an online vegan-friendly and plastic-free store called Ethical Ernie.

After eight months of trading online, the couple have decided to open a shop, where they will sell food and household items.

Ms Colman said the goods will be vegan-friendly and “sourced as ethically and locally as possible”.

The shop will be run on a self-service and “hands-on” basis, Ms Colman explained. Customers will bring their own containers or use the shop’s paper bags to buy as much or as little as they want.

“This will cut down on a lot of waste,” Ms Colman said.

Some of the items the shop will stock are pasta, rice, lentils, beans, herbs, spices, nuts and seeds. Non-food items will include shampoo bars, soaps, bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste. They will also sell refill household products including laundry detergent, washing up liquid, fabric conditioner and surface cleaner.

The couple have been looking at premises on Magdalen Street.

Ms Colman said that it was three years ago, after watching ‘Cowspiracy’, a documentary film investigating the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, Ms Colman decided to become a vegan.

She said that since then veganism has moved from the fringes into the mainstream, with restaurants, cafes and more choice in supermarkets. “The difference is incredible,” she said. “Three years ago I used to struggle to even get a sandwich.”

After learning about the problems associated with single use plastics, and wanting to do more to help, the couple opened the online plastic-free shop.

Ms Colman is a qualified counsellor who runs a private practice and works part-time at a mental health charity in Great Yarmouth.

Her vision for the shop is that the prices will make it “accessible, easy and affordable to make positive choices”.

The shop will be run as a social enterprise, which means it is operated like a normal business but the profits are re-invested back into the business and local community to help tackle environmental issues.

To learn more and/or donate, visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/zero-waste-shop-norwich



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