We all know that changing our consumption habits will ultimately benefit people and the planet. But, for those wanting to make the shift to live more sustainably and reduce household waste, knowing how to start and where to shop can be a challenge.
Earlier this year, digital platform USELESS was launched to address that very challenge. Created by ethical creative agency Nice and Serious, USELESS is an online directory dedicated to showcasing London’s zero-waste shops.
“It started after a lunch break spent getting increasingly depressed about the sheer amount of single-use plastic in our lives,” said Nice and Serious’ co-founder Tom Tapper. “The limited resources currently available are ugly and cumbersome to use. So, as a creative agency we thought we could curate a resource that is more appealing and considered.”
The vibrant, easy to navigate site invites users to enter their postcode or borough and then presents them with nearby plastic-free options. Each listing includes information about the stores, including stock, location and opening times, alongside a bespoke shop front illustration drawn by the team. And, in the spirit of helping people feel less useless when it comes to plastic, the platform also provides a Survival Kit page. It showcases some of the simple changes you can make to reduce plastic consumption, from bamboo toothbrushes to menstrual cups.
With over 40 shops featured at launch, the website includes a crowdsourcing feature inviting people to submit zero-waste shops. These are then vetted and added to the growing directory. “The submissions keep coming in — over 300 at the last count and they are not just zero-waste shops in the capital ,” said Sam Perkins, Senior Designer at Nice and Serious. “We’ve had loads of submissions from other parts of the UK and the rest of the world, including South Africa, India, Canada and Indonesia, so it felt obvious that we should look to extend the project beyond the confines of the M25.”
In time, the team are looking to expand the site city by city, widening the reach of the directory and assisting more of us in our quest for waste-free shopping.
USELESS is a passion project by Nice and Serious. It’s part of the agency’s ‘Nice Works’ initiative, which encourages staff to explore creative solutions around social issues that they care about.
To find out more, visit: useless.london
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