A packaging-free food store in Herne Hill had a special visit from MP Helen Hayes last weekend as it celebrates one year in business.
Naked Larder was set last year in a garage in Herne Hill, selling dry goods – like nuts, grains, cereals and sugar – and cleaning products.
All its ethically and sustainably sourced produce comes without plastic packaging. Shoppers order online and collect with their own reusable containers.
Founder Phili Denning says in that short time Naked Larder has helped residents cut out 50,000 food packets and 3,000 plastic water bottles.
And, as the company operates without a shop to keep overheads low, the prices are as competitive as supermarket own-brands.
Helen Hayes, Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood, said: “I was delighted to see Naked Larder in action today, and am very impressed with Phili and her team who have managed to create a thriving local business in just twelve months.
“The ethos behind Naked Larder, to reduce packaging and waste, is something that I am very passionate about, as are many of my constituents.
“Naked Larder has already had an incredible impact on our local community and I would love to see more businesses commit to reducing waste, particularly of plastic, in the area.”
Plastic pollution is increasingly recognised as one of the world’s biggest environmental hazards.
Much of the plastic we throw away ends up in our rivers, seas and oceans, and is already having a catastrophic effect on birds and marine life, as well as littering beauty spots.
According to Greenpeace, an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic, from shopping bags to plastic straws are dumped every year in our oceans – equivalent to a truck load of rubbish every minute. Many of these polluting items are only used once.
In October last year, the government announced cotton buds, plastic straws and drinks stirrers would be banned from the UK by October 2020 in an effort to cut down on single use plastic.
Campaigners are pushing for tougher legislation to force manufacturers to cut down on unnecessary packaging, and make it easier to recycle to help stop the seas becoming a ‘plastic soup’.
But with legislation change slow to come, shoppers are urged to do all they can to cut down on plastic, and make sure they reuse and recycle where possible.
Phili said she is keen to help other people follow her ‘simple’ business model and help the plastic-free movement spread further.
“We now have a large, but ever growing, community of shoppers using our business and are delighted by how much plastic waste we have already helped eradicate,” she said.
“Naked Larder’s business model is incredibly simple, and I would love to hear from anyone with a spare outbuilding who wants to work with us and set up their own Naked Larder.”
Helen Hayes’ visit to the business coincides with Greenpeace campaigners call for all Southwark MPs to put environmental causes at the top of their agendas, saying all main parties are falling short.
Activists from the local branch of the charity want all politicians to commit to reducing plastic waste and promote a ‘genuinely circular economy’; properly protect the public from air pollution and significantly invest in public transport; and guarantee that no environmental protections are opened up through Brexit. Currently, many environmental protection laws are as a result of EU bloc legislation.
Greenpeace member Maria Mancusco said: “At the end of 2018, the UN’s stark warning that we have twelve years left to limit climate catastrophe was preceded by countless extreme weather events, including the heat wave that hit us here in Southwark.
“The urgency of the crisis we are facing could not be clearer.
“We need to take much bigger and bolder steps in 2019 to ensure that we can create a more sustainable future for all of us here in Southwark and across the world.
“By taking up these actions over the next year, UK politicians would set us on the right track for achieving net zero emissions in the future, and restoring nature back to sustainable levels.
“Unfortunately, all of the main political parties currently fall short against this standard.”
To join their campaign, visit https://act.gp/lobby