ECO-SHOP: Rick Marshall and Sarah Kipling are excited about their new zero waste business venture   		                TM pic
ECO-SHOP: Rick Marshall and Sarah Kipling are excited about their new zero waste business venture TM pic

A MIDDLETON-in-Teesdale couple are hoping to show there is a better “weigh” with a new zero waste shop that opened in Barnard Castle this week.

In a career change from their jobs as a gigging musician and home-based copy writer, Rick Marshall and Sarah Kipling have launched a shop where customers will provide the containers for items they buy. In fact, all products at the Horsemarket shop, By the Weigh, will be sold by the weight, decanted from glass storage jars into the containers.

The couple, who are passionate about the environment, say the concept isn’t new but they have given it an “update”.

Ms Kipling said: “We’ve had some really positive feedback so far. Things have come full circle really with a lot of people really wanting to cut down on the amount of plastic that is used. You’ve got the older generation who remember buying their shopping this way by the scoop and the new generation who are keen to reduce the impact on the environment.”

As well as stocking a range of dried goods from coffee beans through to quinoa, cereals and pasta, they also have washing detergents, a variety of rapeseed and sunflower oils and even toothpaste.

Mr Marshall added: “We know for liquid products it can be difficult to not use plastic, but we hope to reduce the amount that is getting used. If customers have a liquid detergent bottle, they can just wash it out and refill it here. Reusing it means it’s not getting thrown out.”

Their reduce and recycle ethos is carried on in shop fittings that they worked on themselves. The new service counter has been created using pallet wood and the furniture is all “pre-loved”.

Mr Marshall added: “It’s given us a real sense of accomplishment in fitting out the shop ourselves and knowing that we have given things a new life.”

In addition to food and cleaning products, shampoo, conditioner and “body bars” will also be available. The couple have sourced a range of eco-friendly items, mostly handmade and also featuring a number of dog-related products.

A self-confessed coffee lover, Mr Marshall has also installed a coffee machine at the shop. He added: “I am a bit of a coffee nut and though this is not our main focus, we want to let people know they are welcome to come in and have a coffee and a chat. We are also stocking re-usable on-the-go coffee containers. Sarah and I both have them and so can genuinely say they are great.There are shops like ours across the country, but we want to be a beacon for the dales. There is nothing like this between Darlington and Penrith and we want to make sure here in Teesdale people have the choice,” he added.

The couple have also installed a bottle donation bin, where anyone can leave bottles or containers to be reused. By paying a small donation to environmental charity Cool Earth, customers who need more boxes for their purchases can pick up additional containers.