The van with a plan in the battle against plastic pollution problem
PUBLISHED: 13:35 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:22 03 July 2019
Picture: GEMMA JARVIS
Each Thursday a small van sits on Market Hill in Woodbridge fighting its own war on the global plastic problem.
Mel Menhams is the founder of Cupboard Love and she has been taking her small but mighty van across the county encouraging people to refill jars from her supplies rather than continuing the habit of repeatedly buying goods packaged in single-use.
From pasta and rice to dried fruit, grains and legumes, Ms Menhams offers a cheap and sustainable service to people determined to fight for our planet.
With two young children and limited funds, Ms Menhams looked in to opening a shop in Woodbridge to launch her venture but was disappointed at the high rent charges she would have had to pay, as she explains: "I started Cupboard Love a year ago but couldn't afford the £30,000 per year rent fee so I decided to start small and bought a mobile van instead.
"At least with my van I can get to people in the smaller villages and I quickly realised I needed to get to the remote areas to reach as many people as possible."
Speaking to customer Matt Kirkby, from Shottisham, it seems Cupboard Loves' eco-friendly service is quickly becoming popular, and he said: "My family and I recently watched the BBC's 'War on Plastic' and within half an hour our jaws had dropped. We're encouraged to recycle as much as possible but what they don't tell you is that most of it is never actually recycled and just ends up being dumped in the sea with the majority of it ending up in Malaysia as rubbish strewn everywhere.
"We're think we're doing the right thing by recycling but it just ends up as rubbish in another country."
Also refilling her jars at Cupboard Loves' van was 20-year-old Instagram influencer Romany Woolnough from Hollesley. Ms Woolnough began her own 'green' journey after deciding to go cruelty-free when purchasing products.
"I felt I needed to do more as I am passionate about environmental issues so I began to make my own citrus cleaner. I travel in to Woodbridge about three times a week and I was so pleased to discover Cupboard Love."
With 3.5k followers on Instagram, Ms Woolnough is off to a good start in persuading people to be more environmentally conscious.
Cupboard Love has made such an impact in its first year of trading that it has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 'Waste Reduction and Recycling' category in the 'Creating the Greenest County' awards, a partnership that includes organisations such as University Campus Suffolk and Adnams.
The partnership was launched in 2007 by John Gummer, former MP for Suffolk Coastal and now Lord Deben in the House of Lords, and its aim is to work with local communities and businesses to encourage and help them reduce their energy consumption, adapt to climate change and enhance their natural environment.
Ms Menhams is one of two finalists nominated for the award and will find out on Wednesday, July 17 if she has won at an awards ceremony being held at Snape Maltings.
Cupboard Love also has an online shop where you can buy food, toiletries and cleaning products.