A COMMUNITY greengrocer in Smithills has become the borough’s first plastic-free shop.

Friends Lisa Forrest and Emily Cooke set up A Small Good Thing last year out of ‘a love for food, the environment, people and each other’.

A Small Good Thing began as a pop-up shop at summer fairs at Markland Hill and Devonshire Road, before moving to spare space at Bunbury’s in Chorley Old Road on Saturday mornings.

And when the chance came to set up their own shop in Church Road the pals could not turn in down.

Mum-of-two Lisa, said: “It came much sooner than we anticipated, the original plan was to trade as we were until the spring and see how things went over the winter.

“But when the shop premises became available it was perfect in terms of layout and being right next to our houses and we decided to take the plunge.”

The issue of plastic has come to the fore recently, after supermarket chain Iceland announced plans to remove it from all packaging by 2023 and the BBC’s Blue Planet revealed its damaging effect on the environment.

But the Lisa and Emily are well ahead of the curve with their business. They believe that people are now aware of the problems plastic poses and looking to shop more ethically.

Lisa, aged 35, said: “Plastic is a massive, burgeoning issue environmentally, and one I think has been ignored because we talk a lot about carbon footprints and the hole in the ozone layer.

“Plastic was overlooked for a long time, but has come into everyone’s consciousness recently.

“Emily and I have been thinking about this for a while and have been trying to reduce our own waste.”

She stressed that their shop will help customers to be environmentally friendly in a way supermarkets fail to do

"At supermarkets customers have to make all the decisions and compromises based on how goods have been packaged," said Lisa.

“Emily was saying she was buying fruit and veg she didn’t even like because it wasn’t wrapped in plastic. It shouldn’t be up to the customers, retailers should make it easier for people.

Lisa says that she and Emily, who also has two children, are also focusing on the issue of food waste.

She said: “We have a lot of older customers and they don’t want a kilo of potatoes, they just want a couple.”

“At our shop you can just buy what you need, so you are saving in waste and have much less going in their slim bin. It helps environmentally and on a personal, immediate level.”

Lisa, who works as a community development officer for Bolton at Home, says she hopes more traders will follow their lead.

She said: “We hope it will inspire people to think about the small changes they can make in their life. It’s like a pebble in the pond.

“We’re not saying people should stop shopping at supermarkets entirely, but if you buy carrots loose instead of a bag that’s one less bag that goes to landfill.

“We’re called A Small Good Thing. We’re about small, good changes, but together they become good big changes.”