A waste-saving Cumbrian start-up has been chosen to be an ambassador to inspire new businesses across the country.

Paul and Cat Moffatt, of Ulverston, opened packaging-free supermarket Cut the Wrap! in the town’s Upper Brook Street in July.

The couple opened the store with the help of a £11,500 loan from the Government-backed Start up Loans Company.

They have been chosen by the company to participate in a year-long ambassador programme, taking part in events across the country to advise and inspire other aspiring small businesses.

The pair were honoured at a reception to launch the ambassadors programme held at the Houses of Parliament.

Cat said her family initially began reducing their own use of plastic, partly inspired by heartbreaking scenes of sea creatures entangled in packaging in the BBC series Blue Planet.

“It was totally that for me that galvanised action,” said Cat.

“We were reducing our waste anyway, but that made us think that we really have to do something now.”

Paul had also worked in a supermarket prior to opening the business and become frustrated at the amount of plastic waste it produced.

“We were frustrated ourselves at not being able to buy groceries without packaging and we came across the idea of a zero waste shop and that turned into a business,” said Cat.

“We have been really pleasantly surprised by how well it has gone down. We’ve had people coming in and thanking us and one eight-year-old girl came in and said ‘thanks for this because this means my mum can buy her groceries without killing the sea turtles’.

“It’s an issue which is on a lot of people’s minds and they are looking for ways to shop without buying plastic packaging.”

The shop sells a variety of foods that people buy by weight and carry home in their own containers.

It also stocks a range of zero waste sundries such as reusable bottles, coffee cups, bamboo straws, bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars and palm oil and plastic free toiletries.

Cat said some customers had been inspired to begin using their own containers to carry loose products bought at other shops.

“We weren’t business people before we started this,” said Cat.

“We both had jobs and to jump in with both feet to set up our own business was scary and if we can give other people a bit of gentle encouragement then that is what the ambassador role is all about.”

The Start Up Loans Company was formed in June 2012 and provides low-interest personal loans for business purposes of up to £25,000. It also offers free dedicated mentoring and support to each business.