A WIRRAL shop is continuing with efforts to raise awareness of the importance of shopping plastic-free, not only in July but as a way of life.

Sharon Hall, director of The Hoylake Pantry says the business has normalised zero-waste shopping, taking it out of the niche market and integrating it into people's everyday consumer habits, whilst remaining true to its original environmental ethos.

It plans to continue to offer community-based projects, businesses, groups and individuals an outlet for their zero-waste ideas, workshops and projects.

This shop was a winner of this year's New Green Business Award

Sharon Hall said: "We are so humbled to have won this prestigious award. It was a wonderful pick-me-up after a very long and difficult year!

"We together with so many businesses, big and small, had to cope and adapt to some very challenging circumstances.

"We were truly a fledgling business when Covid struck, and although we were allowed to stay open, our business model, namely self-service, was not suitable for the new situation. We had to think on our feet and adapt fast.

"However, as restrictions begin to ease, we have put the shop back to where it was 15 months ago and are now once again offering self-service, where customers can weigh just as much product as they need into their own containers.

"We know this will involve a lot of extra cleaning of utensils and equipment, but it will be worth it, and I, and my amazing team, just can’t wait to welcome our lovely customers back into the shop.

"There will be new offers, and customers will once again be able to browse the many and varied plastic-free gifts available.

"Inevitably, Covid pushed the climate crisis and plastic pollution problems down the agenda, but TV programmes such as David Attenborough's A Perfect Planet, Greta Thunberg’s A Year to Change the World and Ade Adepitan’s Climate Crisis: Ade on the Frontline, all ensured that these topics were kept very much in the public psyche.

"As time has passed, I feel more passionate than ever that we must, for the sake of future generations, make every effort to reduce our use of single-use plastics.

"We have a moral responsibility urgently to repair our planet.

"I am truly encouraged by the number of young people who are now heavily invested in making changes.

"Estimates now say that about one million plastic bottles are sold every minute around the world, with only about 14% being recycled!

"Research has shown that plastic bottles are the second most common plastic pollution in the oceans after plastic bags.

"These figures are shameful, and we should all be doing as much as we can to turn things around." 

Sharon went on to say: "I have spoken to other zero-waste makers and up-cyclers, and over the next few months we will be holding outdoor mini-markets, and maybe workshops, to showcase others who are passionate about reducing waste of all kinds. The more people see what can be achieved by even small actions, then collectively we can make a real difference." 

The Hoylake Pantry is part of the much-rejuvenated area of Hoylake called The Row, which now includes the Trappist House, specialising in Belgian beers, acclaimed Colin Lunt Greengrocers, always offering a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, and the newly arrived LA Hair, an eco-friendly hairdresser.

All businesses have greatly added to the appeal of The Row, which has now become very much a "destination".