Staff, students and alumni from the University have supported the launch of Portsmouth's ‘first plastic free supermarket’, Package Free Larder on Elm Grove, Southsea.

A year after a successful community crowdfunding campaign raising over £43,000, a team of volunteers have been busy making the shop a reality, offering a new place for local people to buy package free dry goods in bulk, cleaning products and toiletries. 

In light of the coronavirus social distancing restrictions, the team has also set up a click and collect booking system to allow for contactless shopping. 

Regine Freeman, Senior Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Business and Law, volunteers on the committee behind the shop. She said: “It has been inspiring to see the hard work and myriad skills that have contributed to this idea. Starting out from discussions in monthly meet-ups in a local pub, planning the basics of getting a logo, setting up social media accounts and a website to deciding how to fund the project - right through to the shop actually opening and customers patiently queuing to shop with us. 

“It seems like both the blink of an eye and an eternity at the same time. In these challenging times it is so heart-warming to witness the power of the Portsmouth community and what is possible when people care about something passionately. Like many other businesses we’ve been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic so please do show your support by shopping local with the Package Free Larder for your pasta, rice or toothpaste.

Plastic free resources in Portsmouth

All profits from Package Free Larder will be reinvested into the shop, and suggestions are being taken from customers on new package free products to source. 

The team will also be running virtual workshops on making your own products and avoiding plastic waste. In the longer term a space in the shop will also be dedicated to facilitating in-person workshops and events that share solutions for minimising waste and promoting sustainability.

The shop will be run by a small number of staff with the support of volunteers from the local community. All staff and students in the local area are welcome to join the mailing list to find out about volunteering opportunities, via the Package Free Larder website.