Whitehead’s new not-for-profit store has eco-friendly ethos

Julie McFarland in the King's Road, Whitehead, shop.
Julie McFarland in the King's Road, Whitehead, shop.

Whitehead has a new not-for-profit store aimed at helping residents to cut out single use plastic and reduce food waste.

‘Purple Earth’ is the brainchild of Islandmagee woman, Julie McFarland, who has been testing the concept as a pop up at fairs and events over the past year.

Product range offers eco-friendly alternatives.

Product range offers eco-friendly alternatives.

Julie said: “People are more aware of issues around plastic waste, and the impact on both our health and the environment, thanks to programmes like The Blue Planet and the War on Plastic.”

Based at 1 King’s Road, the outlet aims to help people make conscious choices about products they use, the food they eat.

“I am truly grateful to Nuala from the Old Tea House who offered me an accessible rental space to expand into the loose foods,” said Julie, “and to each and every person who supported the recent Ulster Bank Back Her Business Crowdfunder to help with set up costs.”

The range includes eco-friendly alternatives to household and selfcare products such as reusable water bottles and coffee cups, refillable laundry and washing up liquids and shampoo and body wash.

“Purple Earth helps you reduce your plastic consumption as you bring your own containers to fill”, explained Julie. “With the loose foods too, you are only paying for the product, not the plastic wrappers, bags and bottles.”

People might remember the old ‘scoop’ shops and this will be similar, offering staples like pasta, lentils, rice, flour and spices plus sweet treats. Julie is also working with the community benefit farm, Jubilee, in Glynn, to help distribute its organic veg boxes.

Workshops in areas such as zero waste, how to make eco bricks and natural, DIY cleaning products are in the planning, plus children’s reusable party pack hire.

Julie said: “My vision is not to shame people into acting, or show unachievable images through Instagram or similar. It is to educate and involve individuals to adopt even one or two workable changes into their lifestyle. If we all take just one step, we can create a better future and have a positive impact.”

August opening hours are: Thursday 3-5pm, Friday 1-6pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm.