A Zero Waste Plastic Free shop in Bethnal Green

by Jessica Hall in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 8th September 2019 we successfully raised £5,930 with 1 supporters in 56 days

Offering my local community a different way to shop. Zero waste, package free products that can completely eliminate single use plastic.

by Jessica Hall in London, England, United Kingdom

The first zero waste, plastic free shop in the heart of Bethnal Green!

Why here? Why now?

  • Tower Hamlets has one of worst recycling rates across the entire breadth of the UK. Coming in at 326/345 with a shocking 26.4% of house waste being sent for reuse, recycling and composting. This means, that 73.6% of it is going to landfill even when you are recycling at home. 
  • With 307,964 people living in Tower Hamlets and every single one of those people throwing away 237.5 kg of waste (the weight of a polar bear) in a year, and only 26.4% of it being recycled. The effects of that on the community, environment, sea, land and earth as whole is unfathomable. 
  • With limited access to plastic free sustainable food and home products in Tower Hamlets, there really is no end in sight. 

What is my aim?

The new store will be an alternative option to big supermarket shopping. My aim is to create a staple store for my community and beyond, where customers can get pretty much everything they need from the shop and then pop to their local butchers and fishmongers to buy the rest. My store will not stock one item that is wrapped or stored in plastic, encouraging customers to get savvy with their storage. We'd provide an extensive range of food and household products that contribute to a greener, more sustainable environment

The amazing contributions so far to the zero waste community: 

But...we need to bring this to the community of Bethnal Green and beyond!

Why am I doing this?

Local impact:

  • The first Zero Waste, Plastic Free shop in Bethnal Green, East London. A multicultural, diverse, ever-growing ethically conscious community who are keen to change their habits. We have some fantastic eco shops in other boroughs but I identified a gap in our area for refillable products and a place that promotes zero waste- you only buy as little or as much as you need. 
  • Because it's exciting for the community! There is no better feeling than walking into a plastic-free shop armed with your containers. It's empowering to stock up your cupboards, buy a shampoo and body bar to replace their plastic counterparts, make your own beauty products and swap tinfoil for beeswax wrap- entirely and utterly plastic free

Environmental impact:

  • The average household in the UK throws away 2,764 plastic items a year. If only 10 people switched to plastic-free and shopped in the store, that's an estimated 27,640 single-use plastic items kept out of landfills in just one year. Imagine the effects of an entire community. 
  • We can't walk into a big chain supermarket without our fruit, vegetables and every item in our household being wrapped or stored in single-use plastic. 
  • We have no alternative, no other options or a way out of habitual plastic use. A zero waste, plastic-free store will completely eliminate the single-use cult and truly put the customer in the driver's seat when it comes to their shopping.

An overwhelming response and call for action...

I am super proud of the local community for their responses to my plans. I was apprehensive about getting feedback at first but boy, was I wrong!! Tower Hamlets is ready!

That's not all...

An amazing and astonishing 300 survey responses in 24 hours from the local community with a whopping 99.2% that would shop at Zero Waste Ldn.

How will it work?

Everything in store will be accessible to you in a variety of different bulk storage containers. This way, you can buy as little or as much as you need. Everything will be kept airtight for freshness. 

1. Weigh your jars and containers in store and write the weight on the top with pens provided (you'll only ever have to do this once if you keep bringing the same containers) 

2. Fill them up with whatever you need. Some things will be better in paper bags, others jars (or even reusable tuppaware if you fancy)

3. I will re-weigh your goods at the till and deduct the weight of the container from the weight of the goods

4. You'll them pay for your weighed items + any single items in store that have a barcode (no weight needed).

What will you be funding?

I am searching high and low for a suitable premises in Bethnal Green and have funds put aside to pay for the shop. All money raised will be spent on turning the space into the best it can be with a wide range of products. This includes: 

  • Scales and POS system to ensure a simple and easy shopping experience
  • Shop fittings- shelving, counters and cabinets 
  • 30 gravity dispensers to allow for quick distribution of food products 
  • 15 scoop bins for messier items like flour and powders
  • An initial extensive food section:  beans, lentils, pulses, rice, pasta, nuts & seeds, snacks, herbs & spices, loose tea, baking, cereal, porridge, oils, vinegars and more
  • Expanding to non-food items:  toothbrushes, toothpaste, water bottles, refill shampoo and conditioner, body bars, washing up liquid & powder, household cleaning products, menstrual cups, tote bags and more
  • A nut grinder machine that will allow you to make your very own peanut butter
  • Jars and other dispensers for herbs, spices, cleaning products, oils and vinegars
  • Cleaning and maintenance items like scoops, brushes and catch trays

What won't you be funding?

I'll be funding the boring stuff; rent, overheads and legal + anything else that doesn't come fall into the above.

Why Crowdfunder?

Starting a business with a traditional bank loan means paying back the loan plus interest from day one which would lead to higher prices and restrictions on me giving customers what they truly want: affordable, accessible options for all. 

By using Crowdfunder, I am able to start debt-free and therefore I can invest more of the profits back into the business and local community. I can also afford to buy more local stock and gain more freedom to make changes that the community ask for. 

Why should you support us?

Thank you so much for reading! Spread the word by sharing this page on social media!

Facebook /zerowasteldn

Instagram @zerowasteldn

Twitter @zerowaste_ldn

Website www.zerowasteldn.co.uk 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£60 or more

0 of 50 claimed

The Shopper Kit

5x produce bags + a ZWL tote bag + 10% off your first shop + your name on our 'backers' wall!

£10 or more

The Hugger Pack

A virtual (or in person) hug + a personal 'Thank you' email and our eternal gratitude for supporting us!

£20 or more

The Green Finger Pack

A plantable handwritten 'Thank you' card made of seed paper + 10% off your first shop!

£20 or more

0 of 10 claimed

The Local Buyers Club card!

Recieve The Local Buyers Club discount card helping Londoner’s discover and support the best independent businesses. Members save 10-25% at over 150 independent retailers, restaurants, cafes, bars and more. Use your card to eat and drink in lots of East London businesses and receive a discount!

£40 or more

The Starter Pack

A Zero Waste Ldn tote bag + reusable straw + 10% discount on your first shop in store + a handwritten 'Thank you' note + your name on our 'backers' wall!

£50 or more

The Business Backer!

1x ZWL membership valid for a year (10% off), 5x 10% off first shop for friends and family, a ZWL tote bag, your logo on our backer wall, website and social media, rights to use our logo.

£60 or more

0 of 50 claimed

The Squeaky Green Pack

The Zero Waste Ldn Bathroom kit- bamboo toothbrush + 20 toothtabs + a body wash soap bar + a shampoo bar + your name on our 'backers' wall!

£60 or more

0 of 50 claimed

The Saver Pack

A ZWL reward card entitling you to 10% off your first shop + 10% off every 3rd visit + a ZWL 'I'm a Zero Waste shopper' eco tote bag.

£80 or more

0 of 50 claimed

The Fab Friend Pack!

10% off your first shop + 3x 10% off their first shop for family and friends.

£100 or more

The Business Backer

1x ZWL membership valid for a year (10% off), 5x 10% off first shop for friends and family, a ZWL tote bag, your logo on our backer wall, website and social media, rights to use our logo.

£100 or more

0 of 30 claimed

The Local Celeb Pack

We will name a dispenser after you and have it publicly displayed in the shop + a picture of you on our backers wall + A ZWL membership entitling you to 10% off for a year!

£250 or more

0 of 10 claimed

The Bumper Pack

10% off your first shop + 3x 10% off first shop vouchers for family and friends + 1x ZWL tote bag, 5x produce bags, 2x glass jars, 1 bamboo toothbrush + 20 toothpaste tabs + 1x soap bar + 1x shampoo bar + reward card (10% off every 3rd shop) + a place on our backer wall! You superstar!

£500 or more

Lifelong ZWL Super Supporter

1x Lifetime ZWL membership + 5x 10% off first shop for family and friends + a ZWL tote bag + a ZWL shopper kit + a handwritten 'Thank you' note + your name on our backer's wall.

£1,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

The God/ Goddess Pack

Cut the ribbon on our opening day, a lifetime membership to the ZWL club + 5x10% off their first shop for family and friends + a knighthood/dame title!

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