Leeds Refills zero waste shop owner wants to become 'mainstay of the community' at Hyde Park Corner
A Leeds dad on a mission to help people cut their plastic waste has opened his own zero waste weigh-and-pay shop on Hyde Park Corner.
Ian Thursfield, 33, used money from an inheritance to set up Leeds Refills zero waste shop.
Customers can either bring in their own containers or use paper bags from the shop and fill them up items such as dry food goods, toiletries, household cleaners, kitchen and homeware.
Ian, a stay-at-home dad who used to work for Leeds City Council's Breeze programme and Eureka! in Halifax, said he didn't feel like the inheritance money was really his - so decided to put it to good use.
Dad-of-two Ian said: "Since the birth of my kids I very much became aware of the environmental impact of having children and how can we help reduce that - so we've got stuff in that is reusable for babies and from there we just escalated and we thought 'why not run a whole shop?'"
Ian used to run The Jar Tree in Kirkgate Market, but that had to close for reasons out of his control.
He also set up a pop-up shop in Fabrication Crafts on Albion Street, which is still going.
Ian added: "While I was there, this shop in Hyde Park corner became available, and I thought this is the perfect place to be - students, families, it's a lovely area.
"It's really up and coming, and thought 'this is the perfect'."
Ian, who regularly goes litter-picking with his five-year-old daughter Imogen, hopes his shop will become a hub for people who are interested in reducing their single-use plastic intake.
He said: "It's been a really hard knock with lockdown as people have not been able to be as plastic free, ethical and environmentally conscious as they wish they could be.
"And it's just now about spreading awareness and starting conversations.
"People often have questions about how they can help and I' m more than happy to be that conduit for the community."
Other similar shops in Leeds include ecoTopia in the city centre, The Refilling Station in Chapel Allerton, Refill and Go in Garforth and Zero Muda in Horsforth.
Ian said he did not set up the shop to make his fortune, but to help spread his message of reducing waste.
He added: "I want to become a mainstay for the community.
"My ideal future is that we have lots of interaction with the universities, I'd love to be running a twice-weekly litter picking session in the community, and I want to promote ethical practice to other local businesses.
"I'm not in this to make millions of pounds. As long as I can break even, have a bit of fun doing that and help the community - that's my dream."
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