RESIDENTS in Penrith can help reduce their impact on the environment as a zero waste shop opens its doors.

Another Weigh is being officially opened today by the Mayor of Penrith councillor Scott Jackson, along with owners Zoe Hedges and Emma and Chris Bray.

The plastic free shop, in Angel Lane, aims to help people to reduce their own waste, allowing them to buy food without packaging and instead filling their own containers with exactly how much they want.

It sells products ranging from cereals, pulses, snacks and pasta to cloth sanitary pads, straws, nappies and cleaning liquid.

It was the brainchild of Zoe Hedges, who moved to Cumbria in 2013 to raise her family.

Having always been concerned with environmental issues, she said becoming a mother strengthened those worries about what sort of world we are leaving for our children. She tried to reduce the amount of waste coming from her home, switching to cloth nappies and bars of soap but couldn’t find a way to get rid of the plastic waste coming from her food shop.

She led a successful crowdfunding campaign, which raised £3,000 through pledges from more than 100 investors.

Zoe said: “As a nation and as a world we are facing an unprecedented challenge surrounding waste. Leading from the ground is where we as individuals and communities can contribute.

"The response to my plan to open a zero waste shop in Penrith was amazing. People are clearly ready to change how they shop.

"Consumers are aware of the need to reduce waste and Another Weigh gives them a way to do this. You buy just the amount you need then you don’t have lots of food leftover in your cupboards. If you need just a tablespoon of spice for a recipe, you can buy just that.”

Profits from the new shop will go to Another Way, an environmental conservation charity established by Emma and Chris's 16-year-old daughter Amy Bray.

The Austin Friars pupil has worked tirelessly over the past year to reduce her school’s waste, working with the headteacher and catering team. She has also created a conservation campaign, called Devotion to Ocean, and has become a founding member of the Lake District Foundation youth panel.

The family moved to Cumbria three years ago and have created two creperies - Emma's Dell in Grasmere and The Wild Strawberry in Keswick.

They have worked with suppliers to reduce their plastic waste to a minimum and continue to do so as more suitable packaging products become available. Amy has also made their home plastic-free.

Within the shop there will be will an area dedicated to the charity, providing information on the environment and how individuals can help sustain it.

Amy said: “We really hope to gain the support of the Penrith and the wider Cumbria community in our efforts to reduce waste generally and to start this off we are setting a target to attract 1000 people prepared to make a personal pledge to reduce their own waste, be it packaging, food or other products.

"We hope to demonstrate that there really are many people out there who care enough to do something about the environmental challenges facing us. We will provide heart shaped pledges for people to fill in and pin to a board in the shop.”

Mr Jackson, who will open the shop at 11am, welcomed the initiative.

He added: "We can no longer be under any illusion of our impact on this world and ethical choices are ever more at the forefront of our thoughts. It is however difficult for people to buy with confidence and to be sure their choices will have the desired effect of reducing damage to our environment.

"I am glad to welcome Another Weigh and shops like it who allow customers to purchase responsibly and sustainably and look forward to this becoming the norm on the high-street.”

Another Weigh will initially open every Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

To read more about local food and drink pick up the February issue of Taste Cumbria magazine, on sale 18 January.