Refill shop owner named as our second environmental champion

Seona Gunn-Kelly pictured in her shop in St Ives in front of the 20-litre containers used for refills.

Seona Gunn-Kelly pictured in her shop in St Ives in front of the 20-litre containers used for refills. - Credit: Seona Gunn-Kelly

Seona Gunn-Kelly, from Houghton, has been crowned as our second environmental champion of the week for her work helping households reduce plastic waste through her refill shop in St Ives, Explore Zero-Waste. 

The shop stocks eco-friendly and cruelty-free cleaning and personal products for people to refill laundry detergent, washing up liquid, shampoos and many more. All items come from UK based companies and are closed-loop, which means the 20-litre containers are taken back, cleaned and reused.  

In January alone, Seona said the shop saved 285 plastic bottles from going into the bin. 

Seona said: “It was never about making any money for me; it was always about encouraging people to be on the same journey that I am, which is ultimately going to help my child's future planet thrive.

"It’s about encouraging anybody and everybody to have a go."

After struggling to source any refill shops near where she lived, during the lockdown, Seona converted the waiting room of her chiropractic practice into a refill shop for the community, like-minded people and herself to reduce plastic waste, which then opened in the summer of 2020.

Seona said: "Really, what we need is people to dip their toes in the water and see what it is all about because those are the people that make a massive difference.

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"It’s encouraging kids to do it and young adults to do it because they’re the generation that is going to be needed to make all these changes."

Seona urges people to change one eco-friendly habit at a time and to join the national push to refill #justonebottle and reduce plastic waste.

Changing one habit at a time protects people from ‘Eco Burn Out’ when people try to change too much too quickly and give up their zero waste lifestyle before they begin.

By changing one habit at a time, such as refilling a plastic bottle, people can start to make these habits permanent before moving on to the next item, which will make the big difference needed for our environment. 

If you or anyone you know would be a suitable nominee for the environmental champion of the week, please feel free to contact Alexander.Gilham@archant.co.uk.