Zero waste shops slowly started to pop up all around London before the pandemic, but since the start of covid people have begun to go backwards in sustainability. 

Zero waste shops avoid the use of single use packaging by having their customers bring their own reusable containers to fill up at the store (then to be priced by weight). The first London zero waste shop, Unpackaged, opened in 2007, but this isn't a new concept. Since almost forever, humans have been using reusable containers to trade goods in and it has only been recently that single use packaging has been on the rise, with something as simple as single use plastic bags only being introduced in the 1970s. 

Every year, almost the weight of the whole human population is produced in plastics, half of which is produced just to be thrown away. This plastic has a grim effect on our world as marine animals alone are dying from plastic pollution at a rate of 100 million a year. Therefore, it is no surprise how high the value of waste-free shopping is for our future.

Yet there are more advantages to zero waste shops than just the environmental aspects. For example, most stores source their products sustainably and have high quality, ethical and local produce. If produce is getting close to its expiration date, it is often donated to food banks, meaning products are sourced and (if needed) disposed of responsibly. In addition, the quantities are completely customisable, so customers are able to buy in bulk or buy specific quantities of produce for a recipe. 

Waste-free shops were rare from the beginning and after drastic changes in retail trends many shops have had to shut down. Luckily for Wimbledon, there is a zero waste shop right in the heart of the town centre: Zéro. Zéro opened in November 2020 (in Centre Court) and provides a refreshing alternative to the abundance of wasteful packaging in our modern world, offering products from reusable teabags to shampoo to purple potatoes. Alicia, co-founder of Zéro, says it, 'takes time', but hopefully this shop will continue to turn a new leaf in Wimbledon's sustainable shopping.

Zéro's website:

If you want to find a zero waste more local to you, you can use this zero waste shop directory: