Plastic-free goal for Concept Corner

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Hayley Matthews outside her New Brighton shop. Pic © Liam Cork JMU Journalism

A Wirral woman has started a series of workshops aiming to promote sustainable and affordable alternatives to single-use plastics and chemical cleaning products.

Based on Seabank Road in New Brighton, Concept Corner is the brainchild of ex-police officer, Hayley Matthews. After an incident during her time in the police, Hayley was overcome with post-traumatic stress, and turned to BizMums for support.

The organisation is a social enterprise which aims to support and inspire women, and Hayley wanted to do her bit to help the cause.

She said: “There were a lot of women there who were making their own products or doing a bit of art. They wanted somewhere to display their work so that’s when I came up with Concept Corner.” Hayley believes that creation is an effective tool in the rehabilitation of people who suffer from mental illnesses.

Ms Matthews recently made the decision to make her business zero-waste, working with other local businesses who produce sustainable alternatives to everyday items. She told JMU Journalism: “I’m not an eco-warrior but I fear for the world for my kids or my grandkids.”

YouTube: Liam Cork

She was inspired after a day ‘nurdle picking’ with Surfers against Sewage, removing tiny plastic resin pellets from waterways, which opened her eyes to the extent of waste.

Last week saw the first in a series of workshops geared toward equipping the public with the knowledge and means to go waste-free as Hayley has with her business. She said: “If we all just give thought to the landfill or single-use plastics, it’ll make a huge difference.”

In the workshops, attendees made food wraps using cotton and beeswax or soy that are completely biodegradable and last up to 12 months, reducing each person’s footprint. It is estimated that each person in the UK discards of 40kg of plastic per year.

Hayley hopes to expand the idea further, starting monthly workshops that will focus on creating all natural cleaning products. She will also be teaming up with Emily Greaves, a local artisan who recently constructed a sculpture in Birkenhead Park from plastic eco-bricks.