A PledgeMe campaign has been launched to help a Whangārei woman open the city's first plastic-free wholefoods store.

Laura Welsby is hoping to raise $30,000 to go towards her first bulk order for a container-based store she is planning to open.

The container will be in the car park on Woods Ave, near Whakaora Kai. She has already arranged the container and to rent the space for free.

Welsby said she has opted to crowdfund, rather than go to the bank, because she sees it as a community project. She said the idea wasn't born out of an idea to open a business and make profit, but to provide something the community wants.


As part of this idea, profits from the store will go back into the community for things like providing more recycling options.

People who pledge more than $50 will get half of it back as a voucher to spend in store. Those who pledge more than $200 will also get their name on a plaque on the store.

Welsby said her aim is to make plastic-free shopping accessible and easy for Whangārei.

"If you try and you're working fulltime you're going to a handful of different shops and it's difficult."

She said based off conversations she has had, there is demand for plastic-free shopping.

"Whangārei is one of those places that people are aware, they are conscious, they do care."

Welsby said it is difficult for people to find the time to go out of the way to avoid plastic.

Her vision is a one-stop shop for wholefoods and personal care without the plastic.

The wholefoods will include things like grains, pulses, seeds, pasta and rice which will be stored offsite. People can order online and Welsby will package them up and have them ready to be picked up from the store the next day.

In the store she will have "wet items" such as oils, vinegars, shampoos and conditioners which people can bring containers to refill.

The store would be open from 3pm to 7pm so that people can come outside work times.

Welsby has been living plastic-free for nearly two years. "It was definitely gradual."

She said plastic was not necessary.

"We don't need packaging designed to last forever for products designed to last minutes."

The container was expected to arrive in the next two to four weeks, work would then start on fit-out and building a deck area out the front.

"Hopefully we'll be opening it in January."

There were long term future plans too which included moving into a permanent store, running workshops to get people connected with the environment and teaming with local farmers for fresh produce.

To donate go to: https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/5868-forward-refillery-whangarei-s-first-plastic-free-wholefoods-store