County’s first ‘Zero Waste’ shop open for business

A little piece of history was made last Saturday when Co Cavan’s first Zero Waste/Plastic-free shop opened its doors.

The EcoShack is situated next door to the Imperial Bar on Main Street in Cavan Town and is the brainchild of local sisters Maeve and Blaithín McCormick.

The pair originally launched the service from a small horsebox last summer, but lockdown restrictions curtailed their plans and after realising there was a large market for their service, Maeve and Blaithín decided to move to a retail unit in the town centre.

“Both Blaithín and myself try to use as little plastic and be as environmentally friendly as possible in our day-to-day lives, but when we moved from Dublin to Cavan we realised there was no place in Cavan like the ZW shops we used in Dublin,” Maeve told The Anglo-Celt.

Their shop will sell dry, loose food such as pasta, rice, pulses, grains and treats. Customers can bring their own containers or use the paper bags provided to fill from the shop’s jars and dispenser, then they simply pay by weight.

“This cuts down on plastic waste by buying loose and cuts down on food waste by buying just what you need,” explained Maeve. “The food is also organic where possible which is better for the soil and biodiversity.”

The EcoShack also stocks cooking oils and vinegars along with plastic-free household items like sponges and brushes, washing up liquid and clothes detergent, as well as sanitary products like plastic-free moisturiser, deodorant, tooth brushes and period products.

“It's basically like an old school shop from the ’50s where you can do a weekly shop without bringing home any plastic,” said Maeve.

The shop was busy on its opening weekend.

“We were overjoyed at the reaction on Saturday. We had a few people arrive with jars and bottles who knew exactly what the shop was and were thrilled to have it on their doorstep finally because, like us, they had been ordering their plastic-free food online. But we also had loads of people wandering in to investigate the new shop who had never heard of the ‘Zero Waste’ movement before.

“Once we explained the idea to them they thought it was fantastic and bought loads in the paper bags we provided, promising to be back with jars next time.

“I'd like to give a special mention to the huge welcome and support we got from the local businesses. We had coffee, cakes and vegan treats delivered, offers of advice and well wishes from the staff and owners of different shops and cafés in town. It made us feel so welcome and already part of the community.”

Opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm with late nights to 7pm on Thursdays. Shoppers can call by or order online and collect from the shop or drop in a shopping list with jars and tubs to be filled.