According to government figures, there are more than 27,000 tonnes of waste produced from UK households and almost 13,000 tonnes is packaging waste. While household waste is a major environmental problem it’s also one where our day-to-day choices can have an impact. That’s the fact which struck North Yorkshire’s Sally Williams, owner of Sew So Eco, when the height of the Covid-19 pandemic meant restricted travel.
“The pandemic meant I just had more time. Particularly when we couldn’t see our families or anything. I found it quite difficult and needed that distraction. It just came to me, and I thought why not? I really don’t think I would have had the opportunity otherwise to start something.”
And start something she did – Sew So Eco, a local delivery refill service that brings all manner of typically bulky products to people’s doorsteps in Bedale, Richmond, Thirsk, Ripon, Northallerton, Leyburn and surrounding villages.
Sew So Eco: what’s in a name?
“I had wanted to call it ‘so eco’ but that was already in use so I had to put the extra ‘sew’ in there. I don’t sew or knit or anything like that – I have always been interested in the waste side of things, sustainability and addressing the throwaway society.”
“One day we just looked at our household recycling bins and just couldn’t believe how many different things and products we were buying. Gone are the days where everyone in the family has the same shower gels or shampoos but just seeing what was going out made me want to start to reduce our plastic waste. We just had to make those small changes.”
Initially the service started on WhatsApp, taking orders for everyday household detergents such as laundry liquid, washing up liquid or floor cleaner as well as personal items like shampoo, shower gel and hand wash.
Life’s now moved on with a dedicated website at www.sewsoeco.co.uk and an expanded range of products such as soap bars, natural deodorant, gift sets and male grooming. It’s important to Sally that all the products are locally made in Yorkshire and free from environmentally problematic substances like palm oil, sulphates and parabens.
Circle of use
Offering these products in reusable and returnable glass bottles means the whole process forms a circle of use with customers putting out their empties and having refills dropped off for their next orders.
“I want to carry on as it is by getting more customers and expanding the offering with delivery. To me that’s where I think the convenience is, having those deliveries.
“It’s just about trying to be a bit better. We can’t be perfect, nobody can be perfect, but I just think we can all be just a tiny little bit different.”
- A version of this article was first published at www.thenortherneco.com.