#PlasticFreeJuly. Some great examples of entrepreneurs who are part of the plastic-free movement

Every single day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic find their way into our oceans.

A plastic bottle can last for 450 years in the marine environment, slowly fragmenting into smaller and smaller pieces which eventually end up as microscopic but never truly go away.

Of the 1.5m tonnes of recyclable plastic waste used by consumers in Britain in 2015 only 500,000 tonnes were recycled.

Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.

Have you joined the #plasticfreejuly challenge? There are many websites giving advice on how to avoid plastic in daily life and encouraging people to be more aware of their plastic use so that we can create a cleaner world for generations to come. The easiest way for people to make an impact is to avoid using single-use shopping bags, straws, takeaway containers and coffee cups. Another emerging trend is to shop in bulk and package free.

Here are some shining examples of zero-waste shops opened by visionary entrepreneurs that are changing the way people shop for the better:

  1. Bulk Market owned by Ingrid Caldironi. Bulk Market® is a social enterprise on a mission to tackle food and packaging waste. Located in East London it supports suppliers who are making a difference to people's lives and the environment. They apply Bea Johnson's 5 Rs - refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot (compost) and operate using the principles of the Circular Economy. The Bulk Market® is currently crowdfunding to create a permanent zero waste supermarket in London with a wider range of products and with a community composting scheme. The new location will be at 6 Bohemia Place, Hackney with the new opening planned for July.

  2. Earth.Food.Love owned by former footballer Richard Eckersley and his wife Nicola. They set up a quaint packaging-free supermarket in Totnes, Devon. Worth a visit because of its green hills, mossy forests and lush crop-growing land, Totnes has long been a hotbed of eco-friendly businesses, ethical consumers and liberal leaning creatives.

  3. The Clean Kilo owned by Dr. Thomas Pell, a British chemist who completed his PhD in Australia and returned to the UK to open his free-plastic shop in Birmingham. Having run a successful crowdfunding campaign, The Clean Kilo opened on 16 June 2018 in The Custard Factory in Digbeth.

  4. Zero Green owned by Lidia & Stacey, two young entrepreneurs with a retail background who, frustrated about the superfluous amount of packaging on everyday items, decided to be part of the solution. Their shop in Bristol champions buying in bulk, buying plastic-free ingredients, and buying local. Since winning the European Green Capital status in 2015, Bristol has implemented long term commitments to climate change and to becoming a low carbon city. Because of a favourable environment, Bristol is actually home to many zero-waste shop and ‘green’ initiatives such as Refill Bristol that has established over 200 water refilling points across Bristol’s city centre – one of them being Zero Green

  5. The Source Bulk Food owned by Makayla Drummond-Murray and husband Patrick Cermak just opened in Chiswick, as the first UK outlet of the Australian wholefoods zero-waste chain The Source. Makayla, who is Australian but who has lived in London for fourteen years, was inspired to open the shop by the example set by company founders Paul and Emma who left their corporate jobs to set up a health food store in Sydney in 2007, which then become the first The Source zero-waste store.

But what if you do not have a zero-waste store in your city or in your area?

The answer is look for online stores. Our favourite is The Zero Waste Club, an online store launched by two young entrepreneurs - Pawan Saunya & Rishi Gupta -  whose mission is “to make the world zero waste and organic. To give back to the planet more than we take.” Zero Waste Club delivers plastic-free Organic and Fair Trade food and zero-waste essentials to your door, provides a return scheme to get back the box you receive at home and plants one tree for every purchase made supporting The Eden Reforestation Projects, a non-profit organization that replants trees in areas affected by desertification on the behalf of companies and individuals.

If you want to read more on  Facts and Figures on plastic pollution: https://www.sas.org.uk/our-work/plastic-pollution/plastic-pollution-facts-figures/ Or watch the extremely informative BBC programmes on plastic pollution: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09zt3nf and https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b42z8k

To know more about plastic recycling in the UK: http://www.bpf.co.uk/Sustainability/Plastics_Recycling.aspx

To find more zero-waste stores read: https://pebblemag.com/magazine/doing/plastic-free-shopping-13-of-the-uks-best-zero-waste-stores and https://www.zero-waste-club.com/buying-zero-waste-in-london/