Jake Walker’s ambition was to set up a business selling products that are reusable, biodegradable, compostable or recyclable.

So he started Zero Yorkshire with a £500 loan from his family. He had just 20 products and drove to markets around Yorkshire in an old Nissan Micra.

After a tough year doing that he moved into a tiny shop in Slaithwaite – thought to be the UK’s smallest zero waste shop – which now stocks more than 400 products and demand is growing so much he’ll soon be moving to bigger premises in the village.

Jake, 33, who grew up in Skelmanthorpe and now lives in Thongsbridge, says the support he’s had from other businesses in Slaithwaite and his customers has been amazing.

He said: “The Slaithwaite shop started with a pop-up stall at Globe Arts Studios and I was greeted with nothing but positivity and warmth from those who had seemingly been looking for something like this for a while.

“Globe then offered me a permanent spot in one of their art studios in 2019 which is where I am now.”

But not for long as he’s set up a crowd funder to help make the move to far larger premises in the village with the money people pledge now knocked off their bills when they buy products from him. His target is £10,000 and he’s had so much support he’s already halfway there and hopes to be in the new building by very early June.

Everything Jake sells is ethically sourced with as much as he can bought from suppliers in the Colne and Holme valleys and other parts of West Yorkshire.

The coffee is from Dark Woods between Slaithwaite and Marsden and Bear in Holmfirth while his range of teas come from Holmfirth-based Craft Tea Company.

The reusable make-up wipes come from The Crafter Life based upstairs in the same building as Zero Yorkshire.

Instead of environmentally unfriendly products like clingfilm, Jake stocks beeswax wraps and bamboo cotton buds so people can ditch their plastic ones.

All his liquid products such as shampoo, fabric conditioner, washing up liquid, bodywash, dog shampoo, toilet cleaner and floor cleaner come from Keighley company Miniml that are natural, plant-based, vegan and cruelty-free products.

Jake has them in large dispensing tubs so all you do is bring your own containers and he’ll fill them for you.

That’s the same for everything in the shop ranging from curry power, lentils, butter beans, sugar and flour to porridge oats, apricot and honey muesli, basmati rice, couscous, Yorkshire-made pasta and herbs and spices.

As for snacks, ditch your usual crisps in favour of beetroot crunch, shiitake crunch and kale crunch.

Jake said: “This whole way of shopping is so new yet people are taking to it. Customers can bring in any container they want – Tupperware, glass jars and paper bags – to take whatever they buy home in. We also have free compostable bags and recycled glass jars if anyone forgets.

Zero Yorkshire is now in a small shop next to Globe Arts Studio on Carr Lane in Slaithwaite and the new one will be at the other side of the village in the former Bar Eleven premises on Kiln Hill near its junction with Britannia Road.

This is why he needs the crowd funder to help with preparing his new shop and for more details on how it works go to https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/zeroyorkshire

There is a range of options but if you pledge £50 or more you’ll get your money back in products over the first year. People who pledge more have the opportunity for discount rates too.

Where Zero Yorkshire is now (left) and what the new store could look like.

It means Jake can expand his products by installing fridges and freezers and the range will include various plant-based milks, fruit and berry mixes, sauerkraut, kimchi – a traditional Korean dish consisting of salted and fermented vegetables – kombucha sweetened black tea and hummus which will probably be made in Huddersfield.

He’s also hoping for a fresh orange juice machine and possibly even a peanut butter machine that makes more than just peanut butter.

As Jake puts it: “It would mean you could buy as much peanut, almond, cashew, pecan or whatever butter you wanted. But it’s a bit gimmicky so is the last thing on my wishlist.”

He’s also looking to stock refillable, ethical, sustainable makeup and skincare and a wide range of oils and vinegars along with refills of mayo and ketchup.

In the nearly four years Zero Yorkshire has been in Slaithwaite – including the pandemic – Jake reckons his tiny shop has saved from being thrown away:

·         750 one litre cartons – Jake has refrigerated oat milk on tap.

·         3,500 one litre bottles of household products such as washing up liquid, hand wash, laundry liquid and surface cleaner.

·         6,250 500g bags of the most popular food refills such as porridge oats, rice, lentils, muesli and pasta.

·         1,250 250g bags of coffee beans.

Zero Yorkshire now shares an entrance on Carr Lane with ethical clothing boutique Otso run by Simon Kenworthy and he’ll be taking the upstairs at the new premises. Otso means sprit of the bear in Finnish folklore.

Simon, 41, of Slaithwaite, is also a graphic designer under his business name Known Aim and has done design work for Rumpus burger bar in Slaithwaite, Friends of Ham bar and artisan charcuterie in Leeds and Manchester-based Squawk Brewing.

Otso clothing owner Simon Kenworthy

He sources clothes like T-shirts and hoodies from companies in India signed up to the Fair Wear Foundation which is determined to­ improve labour conditions in garment factories so the employees are paid a living wage. Other products such as beanie hats are made in Holmfirth and ponchos are made in Slaithwaite.

Simon and fellow artist Oliver Lancaster, who has worked for big brands such as Adidas and Reebok, create designs for them and they are then screen printed in Slaithwaite.

The Zero Yorkshire website is https://www.zeroyorkshire.co.uk/

The Otso website is https://www.otso.clothing/

  • Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.