Q and A: Melanie Menhams from Cupboard Love
PUBLISHED: 12:30 03 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:49 03 October 2018
For our latest chat we speak to Melanie Menhams from Cupboard Love, a new Woodbridge business that specialises in plastic free options.
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Mel, I’m 41 and live in Woodbridge with my husband Alex and two daughters Izzy, 8, and Zoe, 6. I trained as a Primary School Teacher in Bristol, then worked in an Eco School in Hertfordshire where we followed a specialized Curriculum based around Education for Sustainable Development so I have always been passionate about sustainable living and ‘spreading the word!’
In the New Year 2018, I decided that I wanted a change of direction, following my passion for doing something good in the world while engaging with a wider audience.
What is Cupboard Love?
Cupboard Love offers the people of East Suffolk a way of shopping for basic foodstuffs, home and personal care items, all without a scrap of plastic packaging! It is currently a mobile ‘shop’ pitching at different markets and pop-up locations in Woodbridge, Felixstowe and Ipswich.
The idea is that customers bring their own containers to be filled with rice, pulses, beans, nuts etc. The containers are weighed, filled then weighed again so they only pay for the food itself, no packaging. We also sell many other plastic-free items including soap and shampoo bars, reusable vegetable bags, beeswax wraps and metal straws.
We have recently launched our website and online shop, so that people can place an order and choose either home delivery or pick-up from me at a market or from one of a growing number of pick-up points.
How long have you been going?
3 months! I started at the beginning of July at the Old Jet Market and have gradually added market pitches, pop-up locations and pick-up points.
What’s the problem with plastic?
Plastic is an extremely durable and hard-wearing material, and this is the problem! It has become the material of choice for almost everything in our daily lives, and along with a throwaway culture, we are literally now ‘drowning in plastic’. Recycling is not the solution as relatively small amounts of plastic actually make it to the recycling facilities. Most food packaging is such low-grade that it either cannot be recycled or is not worth being recycled or it degrades so much as to be useless in the making of a new material. When it finds its way into the oceans and waterways, we are now discovering that plastic breaks down into ‘microplastics’ which are often deadly for marine life, and as if that’s not bad enough it can also release toxins into the water. It is a huge problem – plastic just doesn’t go away!! Plus a lot of single-use plastics are unnecessary!
What’s the best thing about shopping this way?
By reusing containers we already have and refilling them with the amount we need, we avoid the plastic packaging, and reduce food waste too. I love that each time someone brings me a pot to fill up or buys a bamboo toothbrush or a shampoo bar from me, they are making a choice to change some small things in their lives. It is not easy to become completely plastic-free, I have great admiration for those that succeed, but I want to help as many people as possible to significantly reduce their need for single-use plastics. Customers who shop with Cupboard Love usually leave with a smile on their face, knowing that they are being part of a solution!
How can people get in touch with you and find out more?
My website is now live www.cupboardlove.shop and people can find out where we will be and how to shop on there. They can also order online and choose either home delivery (free for orders over £20) or collection from a number of pick-up points around Woodbridge, Ipswich and Felixstowe on set days. They are welcome to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form on the website with any questions.
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Are you a business in Woodbridge who would like to get involved with Enjoy Woodbridge More? Get in touch! Email email@example.com