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Stokey businesses strive to be more eco

From selling cards package-free and products made from end-materials, Stoke Newington’s stores are reducing their environmental impact.

Now a cargo bike and electric van delivery firm has expanded to the area. Run by environmentalist Joe Sharpe and his friend Ollie King, Zhero is offering businesses the chance to make emission-free deliveries.

Heidi Early, Chair of Stoke Newington Business Association, said: “There are some lovely examples of local businesses working to reduce waste and lower their carbon footprint. Here at Earlybird, our cards are either packaging free or sold in compostable wrappers and we offer paper tape instead of plastic."

Heidi added: “Our local florist Evergreen and Outrageous reduces waste by drying unsold flowers and their garden centre is a haven for wildlife. DogSnug sells toys made from recycled materials or smaller leftover pieces of fabric and, as well as offering refill stations, Know and Love works with local makers and ensure fair pay.

“It’s wonderful to welcome Zhero to the scene here. Their desire to protect the planet is very authentic and the team there have a long track record of living their ideals.”

The arrival of the bus gate and Stokey’s low traffic neighbourhood positions Zhero to make deliveries by pedal power. Zhero has a strong reputation for moving fine art and furniture around London safely.

Founder Joe, who ran marine conservation projects in Fiji for many years, said: “We wanted to run something in a much more equitable way for staff and bring in the environmental dimension – not burning fossil fuels. Having lived in Scandinavia, I’ve seen just how prevalent cargo bikes are.

“We launched the business and lockdown hit. At that point it was just Ollie and me. I was pedalling around and Ollie was driving the van – it felt as though the rest of the city was sleeping while we were able to carry on working.”

Stoke Newington is also home to the UK’s only fully organic food market – the produce sold at the Growing Communities Farmers’ Market is better for soil health it’s grown in or super close to London. Much is sold loose or in compostable wrappers and some traders there use glass bottles and offer refills.

Jarr Market, run on the High St, by Jessica Rimoch, is also a brilliant place to shop for those looking to prevent single-use plastics. They offer grains, cereals, pasta, nuts, tea and coffee as well as toiletries and cleaning supplies. Local Buyers Club members save 10% here.

Transport is the UK’s biggest single source of carbon emissions. In 2018 the Mayor of London announced that London will become a ‘zero carbon city by 2050.


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