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Budding businesswoman in fundraising bid to open Bethnal Green's 'first' single use plastic-free shop

PUBLISHED: 11:21 22 July 2019

Jess Hall wants to open what she says would be the first plastic free bulk food store in the borough. Picture: Jess Hall

Jess Hall wants to open what she says would be the first plastic free bulk food store in the borough. Picture: Jess Hall

Archant

A former primary school teacher is appealing for help starting Bethnal Green's first plastic-free food shop.

Jess Hall, of Victoria Park Road, Bethnal Green, hopes to raise £15,000 to help pay for initial stock and equipment at what she said would be the neighbourhood's first zero-waste outlet.

She said: "There's a massive push against single-use plastic so I'm super excited to do something in Tower Hamlets."

Jess, who has lived in Bethnal Green all her life and went to Raine's Foundation School, decided to act after hearing about the toll plastic packaging has.

"It's ruining the environment, the oceans and threatening wildlife and the local area," she said.

The 28-year-old was also alarmed when she saw Tower Hamlets' recycling rate - which was 27per cent between April 2016 and March 2017.

"I was so shocked by that," Jess said.

She came up with the idea for her store, Zero Waste LDN, after trawling the streets of London in a bid to find shops which didn't use plastic packaging following her decision to live without it.

"I really struggled to find an alternative so just wanted to offer one in the borough," Jess said.

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An online survey she carried out to gauge demand saw more than 300 people give the plan the thumbs-up.

"The response has been overwhelming," she said.

She plans to go to the NatWest bank for £5,000 worth of funding from its Back Her Business initiative if she can raise at least £3,750 of her £15k total.

Jess, who now works for an education charity, said she already has money set aside to pay rent and utility bills.

The community shop would offer customers bulk products selling dry foods including pasta, beans, lentils, rice, flour, cereals, dried fruits and nonfood items such as beeswax food wraps, mooncups and water bottles.

She also hopes to sell refillable shampoo, conditioner, body bars and more.

The ex-primary teacher has been meeting landlords to find a suitable premises in either Cambridge Heath Road, Roman Road or Bethnal Green Road.

"The project will not only be helping the environment, but will be reducing waste in Tower Hamlets," Jess said.

To donate visit Crowdfunder.co.uk

For more about Jess's plan visit her website.

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