Picture this: you’re in the supermarket and you want to buy some fruit. You head over to look at the peaches and find four plump, delicious, round fruits. But wait! They’re sat in a plastic tray, wrapped in even more plastic, none of which is recyclable. Plastic straws might be on their way out, but the war on single-use plastic is far from over.
So it’s good news that a series of independent shops have cropped up across London in the past few years that aim to cut plastic waste to zero by asking you to bring your own containers and fill them up with dry goods, toiletries, fruit and veg and other goodies. And now it’s easier to find them than ever. Enter Useless (‘use less’ – get it?), a new digital directory and interactive map that will point you in the direction of your local zero-waste shops, no matter where you are in London.
Dreamed up by creative agency Nice and Serious, Useless was built following a lunchtime conversation about the frustrations of single-use plastic. Aside from being beautifully designed, the site is also super useful. Using a map of London, users can select their borough and find which shops in their area are dedicated to zero-waste. The site, which launched yesterday, already has more than 40 shops in its database, each with its own illustration, a link to a Google map of its location and information of the type of products that they sell.
Even better, Useless have opened the site up to Londoners. So if there’s a shop that’s not been included, a new opening or an existing business that’s moving towards zero-waste, users can submit the shop and, once it’s vetted, it too will be added to the database. It’ll even get its own cute lil picture.
While Waitrose has recently announced a pilot to cut plastic use, it'll be a while before every supermarket in town features refill stations. What’s more, us Londoners are a conscientious bunch: our latest Time Out Index found that a third of us wanted our city to be greener. Basically, if there’s a way to use less plastic and save the planet, we’ll be there.
So, what are you waiting for? To find out more and continue your quest to go zero-waste, visit useless.london and turn your weekly shop plastic-free, stat.
Want to do more to save the planet? Here are 28 ways to make your life in London more sustainable.