Friday, 05 March 2021

Old school friends to open zero waste shop

Old school friends to open zero waste shop

A NEW zero waste shop is to open in Henley tomorrow (Saturday).

FourState in Duke Street will sell eco-friendly, sustainable and ethical products.

Patrick Brown, 24 and Rob Kemp, 25, from Marlow, are behind the business, which began online. They opened their first shop Spittal Street, Marlow, just over a year ago.

The pair were best friends when at St William Borlase’s Grammar School in Marlow and then went their separate ways.

Mr Brown said: “I went to Australia to become a diving instructor and Rob worked for a tech firm after graduating with a natural sciences degree. I saw the effects of plastic and rubbish on the Great Barrier Reef and he was on the other end of it selling lumps of plastic.

“We both saw the causes and effects on the environment and felt it was wrong. We thought, ‘How could we make a business and prioritise it to do good?’”

Customers earn four points for every £1 spent, which they can then choose to donate to different causes. For example, 20 points equals one tree planted in Africa or one meal donated for someone in crisis in the UK.

The Marlow store has planted more than 1,800 trees and donated more than 1,100 meals.

Customers can also put points towards collecting plastic waste and reclaiming parts of the Amazon Rainforest.

Mr Brown said: “We realised that stores were the way forward so we wanted to open a second site.

“We visited Henley a lot growing up and we think it’s a nice place for a store. We tried to move last year but we were beaten by a Christmas pop-up shop. In March we tried again but the lockdown happened.”

The shop will be set up like a house, with each product placed in the room where it would be used.

Mr Brown said: “When you walk in it’ll be the hallway section with lots of plants, very much like a jungle.

“Then there will be a kitchen area with reusable containers, a bedroom area with sustainable clothing and at the back there will be a yoga area. We can’t just have a shop, it needs to be an experience. People need a reason to come out, especially during the pandemic.”

The store will sell a variety of products from reusable paper towels to menstrual cups. The most popular products at the Marlow shop are the refillables, such as soap.

Mr Brown said: “We provide bottles to refill or we can refill bottles people bring in. Once people do it for the first time, they always come back.

“The real goal is to convert people and we can see the spark in their eyes when they start to use the refillable options.”

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