Zero Waste Retail

@Polina Tankilevitch

Zero Waste shops reduce the packaging to the strictly essential, provide products with more sustainable packaging materials or eliminate packaging altogether. The customers use their own reusable containers when shopping. This type of store usually also incorporates other sustainable practices, such as sourcing organic or local products. It is estimated that each one of these stores avoid, on average, 1 tonne of packaging per year.



Target Group:

People from all ages and backgrounds

Difficulty level:



Most packaging, from cosmetics to food, is disposable after one single use, which is a waste of resources. This causes massive amounts of plastic, paper, or mixed waste and pollution. Plastic litter in nature can break down into smaller microplastics, contaminating the soil and water. According to Eurostat, the EU generated 177.2 kg of packaging waste per resident in 2020 , with paper and cardboard as the main materials wasted.

How youngsters can get involved

  1. As consumers, they can do their shopping in a zero waste shop and in doing so, it is likely that they will become more aware of the benefits of reusable packaging and environmentally sustainable options.
  2. Organizing a Zero Waste Fair, by inviting several zero waste businesses to present and sell their products in schools or other in other contexts.
  3. Organize a Zero Waste Day, to stimulate students to bring their reusable containers to school.
  4. Establish a Zero Waste Shop

Skills and Competences

  • reducing waste
  • awareness of alternative methods of packaging
  • awareness of more sustainable products
  • knowledge about impacts of consumption

How youngsters can get involved

Original Unverpackt (Germany):

Robuust (Belgium)

FOIFI Zero Waste (Switzerland)

Zo Zero (Netherlands)

Maria Granel (Portugal)

Magazin Zero Waste (Romenia)

Roots Zero Waste Cosmetics (Latvia)

Ieber (Latvia):

Bumerang (Spain)