No time to waste
Derbyshire Life|Septemer 2020
Meet the owners of a Wirksworth zero-waste store with community at its heart
Catherine Roth

Two local residents have brought a new shopping experience to Wirksworth’s high street in the form of Skopa, a zero-waste premises that opened its doors earlier this year and is run by Sarah Cumberland and Belinda Wilkins.

Skopa was born from Sarah and Belinda’s frustrations of shopping in supermarkets. When a mutual friend introduced them to one another, it was the beginning of a journey that would see them open their first shop just nine months later and become good friends in the process.

‘We wanted to create a packaging-free zero waste experience for people at affordable prices’, says Sarah. ‘There is so much single-use and other packaging going to landfill and I saw supermarkets were moving too slowly towards reducing its use. The driver for me was that we’ve got to do something differently. I’m not anti-plastic – it’s incredibly useful – but we need to reduce how much packaging altogether we use on items that just don’t need it.’

It was Belinda’s idea to open a shop. A baker and cook at heart, her drive was rooted in nostalgia. ‘There was a little bit of wanting to turn the clock back and return to the experience I had as a child,’ she says. ‘That involved going with my nan to an old-fashioned food shop. I remember shopping then as an experience – you went in and someone helped you.’

Skopa currently sells around 350 different products, 60% of which are food items. Step inside and instead of rows of bottles, boxes and packets there are containers filled with everything from cereals, pasta, beans and pulses, oils and vinegars, herbs and spices, nuts and dried fruits, teas and coffees... the list goes on. As well as food items, Skopa offers a range of environmentally friendly cleaning products, personal care and household items.

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