A FAMILY-RUN zero waste shop has helped to keep 1,700 plastics bottles from entering the environment.

UnSealed, in The Grove, Clacton, opened in November last year to give environmentally-minded shoppers the chance to limit their reliance on single-use plastics.

Mother and daughter team, Zoe Tipple and Kayleigh Seal, launched the business to offer people the opportunity to bring re-useable vessels to buy dried loose foods, cleaning products and other items.

As well as battling to save the planet, the shop - which celebrated its first anniversary on Monday - also had to battle the Covid-19 lockdown.

Zoe said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support shown so far and have met lots of like-minded people, some just starting their plastic free journey and others that are seasoned enthusiasts.

“We were just beginning to build up regular customers when the country went into lockdown.

“However, we managed to turn this into a positive by offering home deliveries which were carried out mostly on foot or by bike to minimise the impact.

“It kept us fit and counted as our daily exercise too.

“Lockdown also brought in new customers as people started doing a lot of home baking and food shortages hit the national supermarket chains.

“Our shop seemed to be the only place in town where you could buy flour, sugar, pasta and rice - and customers drove from Colchester to buy these staple ingredients.”

Covid-19 restrictions are set to be eased next week when the second national lockdown ends and regular customers are expected to return.

Kayleigh added: “Many of our lockdown customers have stayed with us, which is great news for us and the environment.

“Unfortunately due to current restrictions, our birthday celebrations cannot go quite as planned but please do remember to check our social media and do wish us a happy birthday when you pop in for your essential supplies.

“During our first year they have sold 1,700 litres of household cleaning liquid refills, including 300 litres of fabric conditioner, 380 litres of laundry liquid and 405 litres of washing up liquid – saving about 1,700 plastic bottles from being purchased.”

The eco-friendly shop is urging people to shop local this Christmas and to support local businesses.

Kayleigh added: “In the run-up to Christmas, please remember to shop local and support independent stores.

“We have a range of eco-friendly items which in the past consumers have only been able to purchase online. “

The shop is also offering a ‘Make your own Christmas cake’ mix and mince pie mix too, using just the ingredients you need to avoid unnecessary food waste.