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Zero Waste News LDN - Issue #2


Zero Waste London Mail

October 28 · Issue #2 · View online

Join the zero waste revolution.

“What can we do to save the planet?” asked a 5 year old to David Attenborough recently. The documentarist replied : “Don’t waste electricity, don’t waste paper, don’t waste food. “
If you’ve subscribed to this newsletter, you’ve already figured this out.
The first step in being frugal is not buying unnecessary things and refusing freebies - no matter how tempting they can be.
The second step is finding a new home for items that we have but no longer need and take up space in our homes.
This can be quite a challenge, especially when it comes to items that are not collected by charities or need repairing.
That’s why The Bike Project is featured in this week’s newsletter.
I stumbled upon this charity when it first started 6 years ago. Since then, it’s improved the lives of 1000s of people and even spread its wings outside of London.
The explosion of zero waste shops and zero waste sections in existing shops in London is something else worth celebrating as we’re approaching the end of this year.
In the words of American anthropologist Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world ; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has”.

The News ⚡️
London is wakening up to the zero waste movement. We’re not exactly spoiled for choice yet but 2019 has seen a flurry of new unpackaged shops and zero waste sections opening in existing shops across the capital.
Last week, in Primrose Hill, Thornton’s Budgens has inaugurated a new unpackaged range and the supermarket is well on its way to become plastic free, one year after getting on board with the plastic free movement.
You can now buy pulses, cereals, nuts and also milk, orange juice, oil & vinegar as well as peanut butter using your own containers - and get 30p off your purchase - or use some of the containers provided by the shop.
If you live in North West London, you can head to The Olive Tree on Willesden Lane, off Kilburn high road. The long established organic shop has been storing 44 different unpackaged products since last August after raising just over £3500 via a crowdfunding campaign.
In Queen’s Park, the recently inaugurated Planet Organic has a small unpackaged section and, if you live in Wembley, you can head to Patoka Eco Store located inside Wembley market to get some dry goods, refill cleaning products as well as some shampoo bars, plastic free conditioners and beauty products (check the website here for the full list of available products).
South London also features firmly on the zero waste London map. Southwark and Wandsworth are quite ahead of the game but Croydon is catching up with its northern neighbours. Hero market has opened last month in in the middle of Upper Norwood Recreation Ground in a small white hub.
To find a zero waste shop near you, you can check Use less. If your favourite shop doesn’t show on the map, you can contact the website and they’ll add it.
The interview 📢
Jon Machen is the founder and director of The Bike Project, a charity that provides bikes to refugees in London and Birmingham.
For how long has the Bike project been going on and how many bikes have been given to refugees so far? 
The Bike Project was set up in 2013 and since then has donated more than 5,500 to refugees and asylum seekers.
Are the bikes all refurbished ones? 
Yes, all the bikes that we give to refugees and asylum seekers have been kindly donated to us by members of the public. We have a team of expert mechanics who then carefully access each bike, refurbishing those that we believe can be made road-worthy.
How much of a difference does having a bike make to a refugee’s life? 
Being given a bike can have a transformative effect on a refugee’s life. A bike can help reduce the cost of travel around London ensuring that refugees and asylum seekers can access the vital support they need.
The law prohibits asylum seekers from working and provides just £37.75 per week to live on. This can mean many having to choose between food and accessing healthcare, education or voluntary opportunities.
58% of refugees in London describe loneness and isolation as their biggest challenge. People make twice as many trips for social or leisure reasons after collecting a bike from us.  
Do you teach how to ride a bike in London to refugees? London can be a very dangerous city for cyclists, unfortunately…
Everyone who receives a bike from us is given a short cycling training before leaving our donation sessions. We also run a programme called Pedal Power which delivers free cycling lessons to refugee women. These run in three locations across London every week.
On top of that, we have a buddying programme called Bike Buddies, where our beneficiaries can be paired with a trained volunteer who lives close to them. The idea is that the volunteer and their buddy go on a few rides together to build confidence, get to know their local area and make a new friend.
You’re currently out of bikes. How is happened before? Are you struggling to keep up with the demand? 
This year we’ve seen demand for our bikes increase dramatically and have had to close our waiting list twice whilst we try and keep up with demand. In spring we had more than 1000 people on our waiting lists.
How can people help the Bike project?
One of the best ways people can support us is to donate their old and unwanted bikes to us. To find your nearest drop off point, visit
We also sell a small proportion of the bikes that are given to us to ensure our long-term sustainability so if you’re looking to replace your bike, why not check our website.
How much space do people need to set up a drop-off point? Can it be anywhere in Greater London? 
We have more than 24 permanent drop-off points across Greater London but we’re always looking for more. 
All you need to set up a drop-off point is:
- A secure space for at least 10 bikes (kept indoors or outdoors) to be stored at a time
- A designated person on site who can coordinate bike donations and our van collections 
- It’s an added bonus, but by no means essential, if you have means to transport bikes to or from your drop-off points.
You’ve launched in London but you also have a presence in Birmingham. How have you been doing in Birmingham so far?
We opened our doors at The Old Print Works in Birmingham just three months ago in June and have already donated more than 100 bikes.
What are the plans for next year? 
Next year one of our main focuses will be to expand our retail premises to another location in South London. This will help us to ensure that we remain financially sustainable as a social enterprise so that we can continue to expand our bike donations. We’ll also start to offer bike servicing so keep a look out for our new shop!    
The Call Out 🖐
Little Hands Design, a sustainable fashion charity located in Primrose hill, is organising sustainable fashion clubs in schools.
If it’s something you would like to see happening in your school or children’s school you can contact Astrid Jacoby by email ( or by phone (07739535684).
The Events 🙌
There are 3 Restart parties happening in London on Saturday 2nd November (#FREE).
One of the Restart parties is taking place at The Goodlife centre in Southwark as part of a regular and larger event called Prepare to repair. Bring your broken items along to this #FREE event and get expert advice from expert fixers and skilled enthusiasts so that you can try to repair, reuse and recycle your items, thus reducing the chances of throwing it away. 
For more details on Prepare to repair click here.
The Campaign ✍️
Feedback is campaigning to change ‘Use By’ labels. According to the London based charity, currently around 80 million pints of milk are wasted in Britain every year because of ‘Use By’ labels, as well as millions of tonnes of other foods – many of which simply don’t require a date label. 
Last month, Arla, a massive dairy cooperative, has committed to scrapping ‘Use By’ date labels on milk and encouraging individuals to use the ‘sniff test’. Feedback is calling on the top four UK supermarkets to do the same.
Take two minutes to write to your supermarket here to ask them  to change their date labelling policies and reduce milk waste.
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