Changing the world, one small step at a time

Cupboard Love, ethical businesswoman Mel Menhams, with her stall on Woodbridge Market where she sell

Cupboard Love, ethical businesswoman Mel Menhams, with her stall on Woodbridge Market where she sells food and other items `loose' so as to avoid plastic packaging. `You can bring your own containers, or have a paper bag', she said Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

David Attenborough’s stunning Blue Planet series prompted businesses and individuals to question the use of plastics and explore ways of ditching them.

And now Woodbridge-based Mel Menhams, founder of plastic-free business, Cupboard Love, hopes to make shopping without plastic a lot easier in Ipswich and East Suffolk, with a mobile shop selling wholefoods, personal care and household items - all without plastic.

I went along to meet her on a windswept day at Woodbridge Market, where she was selling pasta, cereals and a range of other foodstuffs `loose’ and weighed into paper bags (or your own containers).

It is shopping like it used to be.

There were also reusable coffee cups, soap bars and shampoo bars, bamboo tooth brushes and hard toothpaste tablets, reusable sandwich wraps and make-up wipes.

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Former schoolteacher Mel explained: “We can all make a difference and help to reduce plastic pollution.

“I started in the summer here after I heard of someone doing something similar in Sussex.

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“We use these items at home. I have stopped buying certain things if they come in plastic.

“I want to grow the businesses into more organic foodstuffs, that people are asking for, and local products like oilseed rape oil to widen the range.”

She hopes the people of Suffolk will support her Crowdfunder campaign for a mobile shop, which will be the first of its kind in Suffolk.

“Demand for plastic-free shopping is growing. A mobile shop is the logical step to bring the service to a wider customer base in towns and rural villages.”

“Eventually I want to do school visits, and assemblies, to talk about eco homes, recylcing and ditching plastic.”

She already does the monthly Old Jet market at Bentwaters and various pop-up events and street markets.

As at Mel’s market stall, customers at the proposed mobile shop will simply fill their own containers with cereal, pasta, rice, spices and dried fruits, or buy food ready weighed in paper bags.

Charlie Zakks of local environmental group, Transition Woodbridge, said, “This mobile shop is a fantastic initiative. Mel takes the hard work out of plastic-free shopping, but without a van she can’t carry all the products people are asking for, or reach the towns and villages she needs to. Please do support this important fundraising campaign. “

You can find out more from the Cupboard Love website or by visiting

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